Survey of chemical substances in consumer products No. 186, 2021

Survey and risk assessment of teeth-whitening products for personal use

20-09-2021

In the project, a survey on the market for teeth-whitening products for personal use and the active substances used in these products was conducted.

Since a legal restriction on hydrogen peroxide in teeth-whitening products for personal use was implemented in 2012, usage of several other active substances in this product type has been observed. Therefore, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency has wanted to acquire more knowledge on the market for teeth-whitening products for personal use, and to have clarified whether the products compose a risk to the consumers.

In the project, a survey on the market for teeth-whitening products for personal use and the active substances used in these products was conducted. Based on the survey, 25 products from webshops in Denmark and abroad was analysed for content or release of selected active substances, pH value and oxidation potential. For some of the products, it was reviewed whether a number of requirements from the cosmetic legislation were met and finally, a risk assessment was performed.

By chemical analysis, chlorite was found in two products and likewise, boron was detected in two products. Hydrogen peroxide was found in six products, whereas the concentration for three of these were higher than the legal threshold.

For 14 out of 25 products (56%), it was assessed that as a result of the active substance or the pH value there was a risk for local effects in the mouth, including tooth enamel erosion, increased tooth sensitivity and irritation or corrosion of the gums and the oral mucous membrane. For three products, the assessment was that a risk of systemic effects was possible, but that it could’t be concluded.

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