Buyer Beware: flammable fingernails

Published: Nov. 27, 2002 at 3:13 AM EST|Updated: Sep. 11, 2007 at 11:26 AM EDT
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(Columbia) Nov. 26, 2002 - Whether painted on by a professional or pulled from a package, women pay a lot of money for artificial nails.

Professionals say for women to get a full set of acrylic nails, they're going to pay up to $25. If nail art is included, a woman can spend up to $40 for a full set. Many women don't know how dangerous and flammable those nails can be.

Jane Gober found out just how flammable her nails were when she lit a candles at her church, "Catches like a wick on a candle, flames a little bit, turns black." Gober explains what caused the flames, "I had a BIC lighter and to get to the angle it is, I tipped my hand too far up and the flame was directly on the nail." Gober says she was shocked when she pulled her hand away, "When I pulled my hand away, it was like a little candle, I just blew it out."

In a test, a flame was put to a professional acrylic nail, a painted press-on, and a plain press-on nail. The store-bought press-on nail was consumed the fastest at just six seconds. Chemists say the plastic tip and the acrylic coating are made of polymers that are extremely flammable.

In a scientific experiment at Lamar University in Beaumont, five different types of artificial nails were lit with a birthday candle. The artificial nails ignited in 1.1 seconds. Carmen Jones, with Daired's Salon, says the make-up of the nails can cause the flames, "The liquid is flammable, the powders are flammable, so anything could happen."

To avoid fire, ladies are suggested to use lighters with a long tip, keep nails shorter, and just being aware of the danger. Chemists also tested the flammability of natural nails. They say they can also catch fire, but not nearly as quickly as the artificial nails.

Posted 9:50pm by Deirdre Edwards