History of MMA used in Acrylic Nails, FDA Regulations, and Common Nail Product Ingredients

In the early 1970s, the FDA began receiving complaints about injuries caused by nail products containing Methyl Methacrylate (MMA). They began investigating the complaints of fingernail damage and deformity, as well as damage to the skin around the nails. Following extensive research and many discussions with medical experts, the FDA filed several lawsuits and injunctions against companies in the US creating or carrying MMA products. 

The FDA made it clear to the public that MMA was NOT to be used in nail products any longer. Despite internet rumors, MMA is not completely banned in the US (read more about nail products from the FDA site). It is, however, banned by more than 30 states in the US that chose to take action themselves. It is also banned in Canada and New Zealand as well.

How are nail products regulated under the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)?

According to the FDA “Nail products for both home and salon use are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), these products are generally regulated as cosmetics [FD&C Act, section 201(i)].


Using Nail Products Safely

Consumers should read the labels of nail products carefully and follow any warnings. Some ingredients in nail products may be harmful if swallowed. Some can easily from a lit cigarette or another minor heat source, such as the heating element of a curling iron. Nail products also can be dangerous if they come into contact with the eyes. Infections and allergic reactions can also occur with some nail products. Make sure to have good ventilation when you use nail products. If you have a reaction to a nail product, please report it to FDA.

Some Common Nail Product Ingredients

  • Acetonitrile in Artificial Nail Removers
  • Formaldehyde in Nail Hardeners and Nail Polishes
  • Methacrylate Monomers in Artificial Nails ("Acrylics")
  • Methacrylic Acid in Nail Primers
  • Toluene in Nail Polishes and Other Nail Products
  • Reporting Adverse Nail Product Reactions
Find out more about these ingredients on the FDA website.

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