Stop putting MSDS sheets on nail product websites

The recent coverage in the media of reactions to nail gel polishes is not really news. This is something that people in the business know about and have been talking about for a long time. There are also a lot of ordinary consumers who have been following it in Facebook groups as well. I could probably get a pretty decent blog post out of the whole thing, but I’ll stick to one aspect of it.

The big picture here is that most people have no problems with their nail gel polishes. I don’t think anyone has estimated the likelihood of an average person getting a reaction to these products. Given that this sector of the market is pretty fragmented with a large number of small companies operating in it, I doubt that anyone has the data to even guess. But lets assume it is a very high figure for this kind of thing and one in a hundred thousand people experience a reaction within a year of exposure.

If that guess is right and 5 million people use nail gel polish, there’s a good chance that you will never meet one of the 500 people who have the problem. But equally, that is plenty of people to fill endless Facebook posts with horrible pictures. There is also a good chance that if you have a small or medium sized gel nail polish business you will have nothing but happy and satisfied customers.

It would be quite understandable if such a company would draw the conclusion that they are doing things right in complete contrast to all the rogues out there who are creating all these nasty skin reactions.

So what would should they do?

One approach is to assure your customers that you are one of the good guys and to prove it by putting your product’s material safety data sheet on your website. The problem with this is that the safety data sheet is not intended for consumers. It is a part of the industrial health and safety system. It is intended for specialists in occupational health to use when drawing up safe working practices. If you need to handle tonnes of volatile liquids there is quite a lot you need to know about and take into account to avoid killing your staff or blowing up your factory. Every risk and and hazard needs to be detailed.

So if the consumers read your safety data sheet they are quite likely to conclude that the product that they put on their nails is extremely dangerous. And all the safety data sheets they see for all the products on the market will be the same. In short, all putting a safety sheet on your website is going to do is scare people off the whole sector. Please stop doing it.

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