eBay has taken down unsafe teeth whitening products that can burn the mouth and throat and possibly cause cancer after The New Daily revealed the items were being sold illegally into Australia.
The New Daily found dozens of ads on eBay on Monday advertising teeth-whitening products with dangerously high levels of active ingredients – some with 44 per cent carbamide peroxide and 9 per cent hydrogen peroxide.
Australia’s Poisons Standard lists hydrogen peroxide concentrations greater than 6 per cent, and carbamide peroxide greater than 18 per cent, as ‘poison’ and prohibits their use by anyone except dental professionals.
An eBay spokeswoman told The New Daily they were aware of a limited number of teeth-whitening product listings containing ingredients prohibited in Australia, and had removed them from the site as a priority.
“Consumer safety is of the utmost importance to eBay. Our listing policies are designed to protect consumers first and foremost,” the spokeswoman said.
Dr Hugo Sachs, president of the Australian Dental Association (ADA), told The New Daily he applauded eBay’s decision.
“Sometimes as seen in these circumstances, it takes public interaction to effect change,” Dr Sachs said.
He said the whole industry needed an immediate overhaul.
“It’s not just about regulating the use of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, it’s also about other products that convert into bleaches that need to be banned entirely.”
A spokeswoman from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) told The New Daily that teeth-whitening kits and dental bleaches were considered cosmetics – not therapeutic goods – as they did not meet the definition of medical devices.
The TGA confirmed the current regulatory standards for these products were enforced under various legislation in different states.
Teeth-whitening products: What you need to know
Professor Laurence Walsh, from the University of Queensland’s dentistry school, has provided in-depth advice on several teeth-whitening products available on the market, including home remedies.
Activated Charcoal: Professor Walsh strongly recommends against using activated charcoal on your teeth due to it being unable to clean the space between the teeth where people get a lot of intense staining.
He also warned against using the product regularly as it could damage the tooth enamel.
Baking Soda: Baking soda, which is commonly used as a home remedy, can scratch off some surface stains on a tooth but doesn’t have the controlled particle size of a properly designed toothpaste.
LED products: Teeth-whitening LED products are a type of mouthguard used in conjunction with bleaching gels. The activation lamp emits a blue light that triggers the gel.
Professor Walsh said these products were ineffective as they didn’t contain the right kind of light or ingredients in the gel to whiten teeth.
Supermarket products: Professor Walsh said supermarket whitening products had weak carbamide and hydrogen peroxide ingredients, which wouldn’t result in spectacular effects.
He said makers of whitening toothpastes and strips from mainstream brands had done extensive research behind their products to ensure there was some therapeutic benefit.
Teeth cleaning should only be undertaken by a qualified dental practitioner, Professor Walsh said.