Can Nail Polish Kill You?



Almost every household holds at least one bottle of nail polish behind its doors. The nail industry was valued at over US$2 billion in 2020 and has continued to grow with every passing year. 

It’s a booming industry and with so many nail polishes out there, it’s almost impossible to avoid the accidental consumption of such a widely used product. This is especially true in households with children and pets.

And then it finally happened. Someone, maybe even you, accidentally ingested some nail polish. You know enough about nail polish to know it’s not edible. But can nail polish kill you?

What This Article Covers:

Can Nail Polish Kill You?

Yes, nail polish could kill you. But not from a small amount. It all depends on how much nail polish you get into your body. 

Nail polish is toxic, some more than others. ORLY’s range of nail polish is free from 12 harmful ingredients.

Most nail polishes contain chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde. All of these are toxic and can be extremely dangerous to humans when consumed.

Getting a bit of polish in your mouth might cause some mild irritation to your stomach but consuming a whole bottle or more could lead to hospitalization and even death. 

This is especially true for children. Because they are so small, consuming nail polish could be fatal to them. And while dogs are physically different from us, nail polish can be bad for dogs too. 

can nail polish kill

Most of us have consumed a small amount of nail polish at some point. It’s one of the reasons biting your nails is bad, because when you bite your nails small pieces of nail polish get in your mouth. Nail polish can wreak havoc on your digestive system and cause severe damage.

The more polish you consume, the more severe the toxic poisoning. It's crazy what happens to your body when you eat nail polish. It may lead to nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. 

Nail Polish Fumes Are Also Dangerous

Nail polish has a very distinct smell. It’s an overpowering chemical smell that tends to linger long after the nail polish has been closed. While not as dangerous, nail polish fumes are still toxic. 

To be on the safe side, apply nail polish in a well-ventilated room. And if for some reason you inhale right from the bottle, try not to do that in the future. Unless you are in a well-ventilated room, it might be best practice to limit your exposure to nail polish fumes. 

Are There Nail Polishes That Aren’t Toxic?

Most nail polishes are toxic. Nail polishes have many chemicals in them that allow them to dry fast and adhere to our nails. These ingredients in nail polish can be very dangerous when consumed. 

This is why it’s important to educate yourself on nail polish ingredients to protect yourself from accidental poisoning. 

When buying nail polish, always look for ones that limit toxic chemicals and adhere to strict quality standards. ORLY’s range of nail polish is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and is free from 12 harmful ingredients.

Are There Nail Polishes That Aren’t Toxic

Even when nail polish is free from harmful chemicals, try and avoid getting it in your mouth. Just because it’s free of certain toxic chemicals does not make it edible. It could still cause irritation and cause problems with your organs. 

If you, a child, or a pet have consumed nail polish and start to feel sick, please seek medical assistance immediately.

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