Teeth whitening kits available from online marketplaces have been found to illegally contain high amounts of hydrogen peroxide, which can burn gums and cause tooth damage.
An investigation by Which? tested 36 kits and 21 of them exceeded the legal amount of the home-use chemical while having 300 times the active ingredient.
Online marketplaces removed the unsafe products that were beyond the legal limits from sale when they were flagged.
The consumer group said it was concerned that social media users might encourage others to use products with dangerous amounts of the chemical.
Sue Davies, who? Consumer Policy Director, said, “It is worrying that our tests have shown that so many of these products, which are sold in online marketplaces and often hyped on social media, are exceeding the legal limits for hydrogen peroxide and affect the health of vulnerable users.
“It is clear that self-regulation is not working and that people are being exposed to a deluge of unsafe products online.”
Home-use tooth whitening products can contain up to 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, while the legal limit for use by professional dentists is 6%.
The worst culprit found by Which was a 30.7% hydrogen peroxide whitening gel kit from the oral orthodontic supplies store on AliExpress.
The company said it “found the mistake, corrected it in a timely manner and took the product off sale,” while AliExpress told the group, “We take product safety very seriously, and after getting back to Which?” Based on the results, we took immediate action and removed the third-party product lists that were found to violate our listing guidelines. “
Dr. Paul Woodhouse of the British Dental Association said, “Hydrogen peroxide is a seriously strong chemical that shouldn’t be messed with.
“Dentists are trained in the application and also know which whitening products are effective and safe for teeth and gums.
“If you destroy gums, you will never get it back and you will lose your teeth. If it penetrates the surface of your tooth, which is likely, it will likely result in that tooth’s death. “