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A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, have found that as little as 20 minutes of exposure can lead to DNA mutations. Professor of bioengineering, and cellular and molecular medicine, Ludmil Alexandrov explained. “If you look at the way these devices are presented, they are marketed as safe, with nothing to be concerned about,” he said.
“But to the best of our knowledge, no one has actually studied these devices and how they affect human cells at the molecular and cellular levels – until now.”
To conduct the study, three cell types – adult human skin keratinocytes, human foreskin fibroblasts, and mouse embryonic fibroblasts – were exposed to UV curing machines.
In a Petri dish, the cells were placed in one of the UV curing machines for 20 minutes.
They were then taken out for an hour to repair, and then given another 20-minute session under the UV drying lamp.
Another Petri dish, full of cells, was exposed to chronic UV exposure, with 20-minute sessions for three consecutive days.
They reported that one 20-minute session of exposure to a UV-emitting device led up to 30 percent cell death.
Meanwhile, three consecutive 20-minute sessions caused up to 70 percent of the exposed cells to die.
Exposure to the UV light also caused mitochondrial and DNA damage in the remaining cells.
Moreover, the mutations had patterns that can be observed in skin cancer.
The professor at the University of California added: “We saw multiple things: first, we saw that DNA gets damaged.
“We also saw that some of the DNA damage does not get repaired over time, and it does lead to mutations after every exposure with a UV nail polish dryer.
“Lastly, we saw that exposure may cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which may also result in additional mutations.”
Professor Alexandrov stated: “We looked at patients with skin cancers, and we see the exact same patterns of mutations in these patients that were seen in the irradiated cells.”
While the results demonstrate the harmful effects of repeated use of UV drying lamps on human cells, a long-term epidemiological study is required for further evidence.
The study noted: “Our experimental results and the prior evidence strongly suggest that radiation emitted by UV nail polish dryers may cause cancers of the hand.
“And that UV nail polish dryers, similar to tanning beds, may increase the risk of early-onset skin cancer.
“Nevertheless, future large-scale epidemiological studies are warranted to accurately quantify the risk for skin cancer of the hand in people regularly using UV nail polish dryers.
“It is likely that such studies will take at least a decade to complete and to subsequently inform the general public.”
Co-author and postdoctoral scholar, Maria Zhivagui, found the results “alarming”.
Once a regular at the nail salon, Miss Zhivagui had “decided to stop” having gel manicures.
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