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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 December 2007, 00:44 GMT
Call for UK ban on fake-nail glue
MMA is used to fix fake nails
A Labour MP has called for all nail bars to be regulated and for a ban on a potentially harmful chemical glue used in some outlets to fix fake nails.

Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is often used because it is cheap, but has a strong odour that can trigger serious skin reactions or permanent nail damage.

Milton Keynes South West MP Phyllis Starkey said the UK should follow the US in banning its use.

The government said there had been no recent public complaints about MMA.

In London local authorities already have the power to close salons using MMA, but nail technicians say they are still seeing clients who have been harmed by MMA.

Low pricing for an acrylic service that is not on a special offer
Secrecy about the acrylic brands used
Always ask questions when trying out a new salon and if you do not feel comfortable simply leave
Source: Health and safety experts

When the MMA sets it becomes rigid and instead of coming off if it is caught, it can tear off the natural nail.

In some cases the false nail is so difficult to remove it has to be filed off, causing serious damage to the natural nail below.

Dr Starkey, who was alerted by a constituent in Milton Keynes with concerns about the safety of the chemicals being used in nail bars, has asked the Leader of the House of Commons for a debate in Parliament to discuss the public health implications.

She said: "A constituent has drawn my attention to the fact that the proliferation of nail bars with staff who are not properly qualified is leading to, in particular, problems resulting from the use of methyl methacrylate to attach nail extensions.

"The chemical damages the nail bed, and is banned in the US. This issue is of great importance to women in my constituency and throughout the country, and it would be helpful to have a debate about its public health aspects as soon as possible."

Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the Health Protection Agency had no record of having received any complaints of ill effects from the use of MMA in nail bars in the last three years.

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