CVS Requiring Customer ID To Buy Nail Polish Remover

CVS stores in southern New England are requiring customers to show a valid ID proving that they are at least 18 years old in order to buy nail polish remover.

The stores put the policy into place to crack down on the production of methamphetamine. Acetone, a common active ingredient in many nail polish removers, is one of the ingredients used to illegally produce meth. The stores also limit the amount of nail polish remover that a single customer can buy.

According to NBC 4, when the customer goes to buy the nail polish remover, their ID will be scanned at the register. The system will then keep track of whether the customer buys an acetone product later that day. If the customer tries to buy too many, they will be denied.

A similar policy went into effect at a CVS in Georgetown about a week ago.

“Our policy 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 Public Relations Director Mike DeAngelis said.

There are no state or federal laws requiring ID to buy nail polish remover. But in 2010, CVS agreed to pay $77.6 million to settle a federal lawsuit after acknowledging the sale of pseudoephedrine to criminals, who used it to make meth.

WBUR associate producer Rachel Rohr encountered the new policy firsthand. Rohr went to CVS to buy vitamins and nail polish remover. At the self-checkout, Rohr received an error message and a printed slip that read, “Products containing acetone/iodine cannot be purchased at the self checkout. Please see associate for assistance.” A sales associate came over and asked to see her ID, and scanned Rohr’s driver’s license.

Rohr emailed the Massachusetts Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. FDA spokesman Christopher Kelly suggested she ask the store “elated to decreasing access to acetone to those under 18 because of increasing reports on the risks associated with youths ‘huffing’ acetone.”

An email from Michael DeAngelis clarified that CVS is “in the process of implementing this [policy] chainwide.” He also explained that there is no actual limit to buy nail polish remover, but the policy seems to draw the line at anyone not old enough to have a state ID or driver’s license.

What do you think of CVS’ new policy requiring an ID to buy nail polish remover?

[Photo credit: Adam Fagen / Flickr]