A fire hazard in your makeup bag

A fire hazard in your makeup bag

Nail polish remover is a common beauty product that helps women remove previously applied manicure from their fingernails and toenails, but this easy-to-use beauty staple can also be life threatening.

ABC News recently reported that a 20-year-old woman’s clothes were set on fire when a candle was set next to an open nail polish remover bottle. The flash fire happened in minutes when the fumes from the bottle created a vapor cloud that ignited the flame, according to the Cy-Fair Fire Department in Cypress, Texas. The woman suffered third degree burns on almost half her body.

Warning statements are required by law on all cosmetics, including nail polish remover, according to the Food and Drug Administration. In order to prevent a health hazard, the bottle must identify that nail products might cause infections and allergic reactions, are highly flammable, and may be harmful if ingested.

Nail polish is flammable because of the ingredient acetone – also known as dimethyl ketone or 2-propanone. The very powerful solvent emits toxic fumes that can cause several health concerns, including dizziness, headaches or nausea when used in a place with little ventilation. If ingested, it can cause headaches, confusion, increased pulse rates, nausea, vomiting and, if used in high levels, a coma. Labels warn to keep away from little children. The liquid can also dry out the skin around the nails and has been known to be able to melt most plastics.

Last year, a young woman from Alton, Ill. suffered second degree burns on her right hand from a fire that spread through her living room, according to the Alton Fire Department. When the 28-year-old victim blew out her candle, she carried the acetone fumes right to the flame.

Dr. Rishi Sikka, emergency medical physician with Advocate Medical Group, recommends people read the warning labels before using any type of beauty product.

To help prevent an emergency when using nail polish remover, Dr. Sikka offers the following tips:

  • Keep the product a good distance away from an open flame.
  • Do not smoke when using nail polish remover.
  • Use the remover in a well ventilated area.
  • If you have young children in the house, make sure to store the product in a well secured spot that is not reachable.
  • Be cautious when having an open bottle of nail polish remover near a blow dryer, straightener or curling iron. The heat might potentially ignite nail polish remover.


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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.