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Manicures and Pedicures While Pregnant or Breast Feeding

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I’m getting a pedicure today. It’s my summer-time indulgence, and something I haven’t done often for the past 4 years. When I was pregnant, I avoided the nail salon. Experts have raised concerns that some of the chemicals in nail polish can be harmful to a growing baby. (Here’s a link to Babblepedia that then links to various articles that are both pro and con nail polish and pregnancy).
But once I popped out both of my kids, I made an appointment for a manicure. I needed to feel a little more “polished” so to speak. Anything to counter the psychological effects of sleep-deprivation. In fact, I once even breastfed The Bear while getting a pedicure.
Quite honestly, I never thought about any health concerns related to breastfeeding and nail polish. But this article in The Daily Green is making me re-think things.
…nail polish isn’t the sort of thing you want to be slathering on your digits when you’re pregnant. It likely contains phthalates to make it flexible and chip resistant. Certain phthalates are banned in Europe, and some big American companies are starting to pull them out of their nail polishes as well, because research has shown they can cause cancer and/or reproductive abnormalities in lab animals. A small study suggested baby boys exposed to high levels of the chemical in utero were more likely to exhibit penile anomalies. The FDA still deems the chemical safe, and critics say these studies are too small. Other chemicals of concern in nail polish are formaldehyde, which can be absorbed through nails and skin, and is thought to be a carcinogen by the EPA and the National Toxicology Program, as well as toluene, which is a skin and respiratory tract irritant. In extreme amounts, it can cause liver damage.
…There’s something about looking at a colored cluster of chemicals stuck to your nails day after day after day. Obviously whatever is in it is getting into my system. And it kills me I don’t have a clue what that might be as I’ve never seen a polish with the ingredients listed on the bottle. Which is a horrible disservice to the consumer. I gather these ingredients are guarded as trade secrets just as they are with cleaning products. How horrible. And wrong. So I’d prefer to remain bare for the most part, but am happy to have colorful options for special occasions.
Here are a few more articles that suggest you may want to limit your exposure to nail polish. Check out La Leche League and The National Resources Defense Council. Here’s information from the FDA about nail polish.
Fortunately for me, I can punt this question personally since I’ve already weaned The Bear. But I’m curious, is this something other people are concerned about? Are any of you forgoing certain beauty treatments because you’re either pregnant or nursing?