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TEETH FRIGHTENER; SUNDAY Mirror INVESTIGATES; Dental clinics using toxic chemicals with 200 times legal level of bleach.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE BY STEPHEN HAYWARD Consumer Correspondent

HIGH street clinics are using teeth whiteners containing more than 200 times the legal level of a dangerous bleach.

The toxic levels of hydrogen peroxide were discovered after trading standards officers swooped on salons promising punters a perfect Hollywood smile.

The shock revelation comes after the Sunday Mirror told how unqualified practitioners were cashing in on the PS1billion industry, putting customers' health at risk.

Only dentists - or dental health professionals working to a dentist's prescription - are legally allowed to carry out teeth whitening.

Yet thousands of unregistered "technicians" are providing a cut-price service in hairdressers, tanning shops, clinics and beauty salons.

Now an official investigation into 40 such outlets has revealed many are using dangerous bleaching gels which can cause blisters and gum damage. All whitening gels contain bleach, usually hydrogen peroxide, which strips stains from enamel and brightens teeth from outside in.

The gels are applied to teeth in a mouthpiece.

But professional teeth whitening by a dentist can cost up to PS1,000, so many customers are tempted to use cheaper outlets charging as little as PS50 a session.

The gels seized by Essex trading standards officers included three brands of teeth whiteners which had illegal levels of hydrogen peroxide.

The worst, AW3 Teeth Whitening, contained 23.8 per cent hydrogen peroxide - 238 times the maximum EU safety level. Another gel, called Lovelite, was found to have 0.216 per cent hydrogen peroxide, more than double the legal limit. It also contained sodium perborate, a substance banned in cosmetics in the EU.

A third gel called Super White Smile was found to have 0.215 per cent hydrogen peroxide - also double the limit - even though its label said it was within legal limits.

SALONS

Under EU law, teeth whitening products are only safe for use by nondentists if they contain a maximum of 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide.

Anything above this can only be applied by dental practitioners.

Two more brands among the seized gels had misleading labelling. Richard Knight, Britain's trading standards expert on cosmetic product safety, said: "Beauty salons need to know they are breaking the law if they are doing teeth whitening."

He said beauticians ordered such gels from specialist suppliers, adding: "These products should never have been on the market in the first place.

"Consumers must be satisfied any salon they are using is compliant with regulations and what we have seen from this small sample is that they are not."

The 40 firms where the products were seized will not be named. Mr Knight explained: "They bought these products believing them to be safe. We are giving them the opportunity to put things right."

AW3 Teeth Whitening and Lovelite suppliers said they complied with regulations. The website supplying Super White Smile has ceased trading.

s.hayward@sundaymirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Scandal: our probe

Danger gel: capsule of AW3 product and, top, mouthpiece used for whitening

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 24, 2015
Words:491
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