Some teeth whitening products bought on online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon Marketplace, and Wish could damage your teeth, a new research warns.
The consumer watchdog Which one? tested the ingredients of 36 teeth whitening products available on a number of online marketplaces, including whitening strips, gel-filled syringes and brush-tipped pens.
Worryingly, 21 of the 36 teeth whiteners exceeded the legally required amount of hydrogen peroxide for home use, putting users at risk of burned gums and permanent tooth damage.
Teeth whitening products sold over the counter should legally only contain 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, while the legal limit for use by professional dentists is 6%. However, many of the products tested clearly exceeded these values.
Six of the most powerful teeth whiteners had more than 100 times too much hydrogen peroxide to be legally sold. Five of these products were purchased from AliExpress. A “tooth whitening gel kit” contained 30.7% hydrogen peroxide.
Five out of nine products tested by eBay violated the hydrogen peroxide law – the worst offender was 7.43%. Meanwhile, five out of 13 products tested on the Amazon Marketplace contained illegal amounts of hydrogen peroxide, with one pen containing 7.87% of the chemical.
The investigation also found evidence that teeth whitening products available elsewhere in the world – but illegal in the UK – are being sold to UK consumers.
The researchers found that Crest Whitestrips are being sold through a China-based Wish seller ready to ship to the UK. Laboratory tests found the strips to contain more than 132 times the allowable amount of hydrogen peroxide in the UK.
Procter & Gamble, owner of the Crest brand, told Which? that it does not sell this product in the UK or Europe as the law does not allow it to be sold there.
The British Dental Association (BDA) recommends that consumers see their dentist for teeth whitening.
“Hydrogen peroxide is a very strong chemical that shouldn’t be messed with,” BDA board member Paul Woodhouse told HuffPost UK.
“Dentists are trained to use it to consider a patient’s overall health and identify issues such as gum disease that can affect a person’s ability to whiten their teeth. They also know which whitening products are effective and safe for teeth and gums. “
Due to legal restrictions on hydrogen peroxide, manufacturers of some home products use chemicals other than hydrogen peroxide, such as sodium perborate and chlorine dioxide, to whiten teeth. Not used.
“Using DIY measures that involve unspecified chemicals or dangerously high levels of hydrogen peroxide is an avoidable and completely unnecessary risk,” says Woodhouse. “This self-inflicted damage could lead to burned gums and weakened teeth – and may require expensive root canal treatment to repair the damage.”
What are the marketplaces saying?
An eBay spokesman said The website had removed the illegal products that Which? “We have filters in places that automatically block entries that are unsafe or do not meet our guidelines. These prevented six million unsafe entries from reaching the site in 2020, ”they added. “Our teams also work around the clock as an extra safety net to manually review and remove anything that may not have been captured by our filters.”
Wish said which one? The internal teams examined the items identified and confirmed that all four entries had been removed.
An Amazon spokesman said: “We require that all products sold in our store comply with applicable laws, and we monitor the products sold in our stores for product safety concerns. We may remove a product from business, contact vendors, manufacturers, and government agencies for additional information, or take other action. If customers have concerns about an item they have purchased, we encourage them to contact our customer service department directly so we can investigate and take appropriate action. The products in question have been removed. “
AliExpress said “Immediate action” has been taken to address those identified with “Which?” to remove marked product lists. “We are a third party marketplace and all merchants selling on AliExpress must comply with our platform rules and guidelines, as well as all local laws and regulations. We will take action against sellers who are found to violate our terms. “