KNOW THE DANGERS!
MMA (methyl-methacrylate) is a liquid sometimes illegally used in acrylic nail applications. In spite of warnings against its use in the nail industry, unscrupulous nail technicians and salons continue to subject an unsuspecting public to this hazardous chemical. To understand the problems associated with MMA, a little background is needed. Acrylic is created by combining a liquid monomer with a powder polymer. A chemical reaction between these two ingredients causes the acrylic to harden in about three minutes. While still soft, acrylic can be applied to nails and shaped to form enhancements. In the 1970's, early nail technicians purchased acrylic from dentists and medical supply stores. Over time, it became clear that when used on nails MMA caused serious health risks. In its liquid form, the small size of the MMA molecule enables it to penetrate the skin, sometimes causing severe allergic reactions. Additionally, MMA has a very strong and distinctive odor. Breathing these vapors can cause asthmatic symptoms. Even after the acrylic has hardened, MMA still poses a threat to the health of the nail. MMA acrylic bonds very tightly to the natural nail, so tightly in fact that when the nail is subjected to stress, rather than breaking from the natural nail, the acrylic can actually pull part or all of the nail off the nail bed. When the hazards of MMA use on nails became clear, responsible manufacturers developed a safe alternative, ethyl-methacrylate or EMA. EMA is hundreds of times less likely to cause allergic reactions, and because EMA acrylics are somewhat softer than MMA acrylics, they break more easily under stress, saving the natural nail. The question is, if this safer EMA is available, and many states have passed laws forbidding MMA use on nails, why do some nail technicians still use MMA? The answer is simple economics. MMA monomer costs about 90% less than EMA monomer. MMA is still widely available from unethical distributors, at a fraction of the cost of EMA, and until something changes, MMA will continue to be used in this industry. How can you know if a salon is using MMA? It is impossible to be sure without performing chemical tests on the monomer itself.
However, there are several things you can look for which might indicate that a salon is using MMA.
* MMA has an overpoweringly strong odor.
* Nail technicians wear masks to protect themselves from the dangerous vapors.
* Nail technicians using MMA will nearly always use a nail drill because MMA acrylic is too hard to file with a hand file.
* Removing MMA acrylics is very difficult, requiring from 40-60 minutes of soaking in pure acetone to dissolve the nails.
* Because of the low cost of MMA monomer, salons using it can charge much less for their services. The only way to stop the use of MMA in the nail industry is for consumers to make its use uneconomical for salons.
***Here are some ways in which you could help make that happen. From this day forward, refuse to patronize any salon you suspect uses MMA. Tell your friends and family about the dangers of MMA, and encourage them to avoid salons that use it. Nail Technicians call them NSS (Non Salon Standard) as they DO NOT in any way reach a safe level of Salon Standards, keeping YOU, the client safe and healthy.***
Information source: www.nails.com.au
What are the health risks associated with MMA products?
MMA-related complaints range from skin allergies to permanent loss of the nail plate. Here are the most common complaints that prompted the FDA to take action
The surface bond of the MMA acrylic is so strong to the soft tissue that even a slight trauma to the nail can cause the nail to break and lift off the nail bed. This can result in serious nail breaks, infection and loss of the nail plate. Ironically, it is the strength of the acrylic that attracts some users of the product. While MMA used in the medical and dental industries provides superior adhesion to bone, it is not appropriate or safe for use on the softer nail tissue.
Respiratory problems and eye, nose and throat irritation.
MMA vapors are toxic even in small doses and can cause lung, liver and heart valve damage, especially with long term exposure. This has been documented in laboratory animals as well as in lab technicians from dental labs where crowns and dentures are made. Wearing a mask does nothing to prevent inhalation of MMA fumes. Masks only reduce the inhalation of acrylic dust.
Permanent Nail Deformities
The small molecular structure of MMA makes it possible for it to be absorbed through even unbroken skin. It can also actually do permanent damage to the matrix of the nail and further absorb into the body. While MMA will not store in the tissue, it is stored as methanol in the blood and urine.
Severe Allergic Reactions
Repeated exposure to products containing MMA can result in severe allergic reactions. Redness, swelling and itching are common symptoms which can lead to the development of tiny blisters around the cuticles and fingertips. These blisters can develop into open sores, and the fingertips may become numb or feel itchy under the nail.