CVS (NYSE:CVS) is now requiring customers buying nail polish remover to be 18 and show ID. The chain is also limiting purchases, according to Rhode Island television station WPRI.
The rationale is that acetone, the main ingredient in nail polish remover, is used in the manufacture of the illegal drug methamphetamine. CVS and other retailers already limit sales of over-the-counter decongestant pseudoephedrine, which is a key meth ingredient. CVS is also reportedly limiting acetone sales in at least one store in Washington, D.C.
CVS isn't required by federal or state law to check ID for acetone-containing products, and CVS appears to be the only drug chain doing it. However, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and other chains have flagged purchases of some other products that can be used in meth production, including Sterno-type fuel.
CVS has also been in trouble in the past for failing to keep pseudoephedrine sales under control. In 2010, the chain paid $77.6 million to settle federal charges that it allowed criminals to buy pseudoephedrine in quantity in stores in southern California. That may have played a part in its decision to be proactive about acetone.
In a statement, CVS said that "Because acetone is an ingredient used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, we recently implemented a policy that a valid ID must be presented to purchase acetone-containing products such as nail polish remover. 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."