CVS Pharmacy now requires customers to show ID if they’re buying nail polish remover. They also prohibit the sale of the cosmetic product to customers under the age of 18.
The reason for this change is that some nail polish removers contain the chemical acetone, which can be used to produce the illegal drug methamphetamine.
“Our policy also limits the sale of these products in conjunction with other methamphetamine precursors and is based on various regulations requiring retailers to record sales of acetone,” CVS said in a statement to the New York Post.
Waterloo Director of Public Safety Dan Trelka said that while this is a move in the right direction, it might not make a big difference in stemming meth production. Customers can simply go down the road, to a store that doesn’t ID.
"I think what it will ultimately do is simply modify the behavior of the criminals,” Trelka said.
When I visited a Waterloo CVS, the store was running a ‘buy two, get one free’ promotion on polish remover. However, when I brought three bottles to the register, I was only allowed to buy two. The register spit out a receipt, which said my purchase contained too much acetone. The slip had a customer hotline that I called, but the call center was closed.
CVS Director of Public Relations Mike DeAngelis declined to be interviewed, but did offer a statement via email.
“We are committed to ensuring customer convenience while appropriately complying with regulations in our business,” DeAngelis said. “With that in mind, we are in the process of reviewing our policy concerning the sale of products containing acetone. We currently require a valid ID to be presented to purchase nail polish remover based on various regulations requiring retailers to record sales of acetone products due to its use as an ingredient in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine. We plan to communicate a revision to our policy shortly.”
So, a change could be coming.
Still, even with the current limits and policy, I left the store with 26 ounces of acetone, and probably a few years worth of nail polish remover.