Many of the chemicals found in nail polish are the same found in auto body paint, albeit in smaller quantities.

The products that lacquer your toenails fire-engine red or make your fingernails luxuriously long and shapely can contain chemicals that are suspected or known to cause cancer and birth defects. For many dangerous ingredients, the long-term effects — five, 10, even 20 years after exposure — are unclear.

The chemical is easily absorbed through the skin and intestinal tract and can cross the placenta into the fetus. It has been linked to development problems in the male genitals of humans and rats. Exposed pregnant rodents had fewer live pups and smaller offspring.

There are no requirements for ventilation or protective gear for manicurists. Masks worn by some salon workers will shield them from dust, but not fumes. And the government isn’t making sure that the nail polishes, removers and acrylic nail products are safe before they adorn your digits — that’s up to the manufacturers.

“They are heavy-duty toxic chemicals so you can’t just use them indiscriminately,” said Susan Titus, an indoor-air-program specialist with the Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle. “You have to be aware of the chemicals that you are using.

“I’m guessing that most of the customers that go in are not really thinking about it,” she said.

Tierra Mia Organic Nail Spa

Car Paint / Nail Polish