Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Zealand Probing Safety of Over the Counter Teeth Whiteners

Interesting that New Zealand is cracking down on the injudicious use of these products whereas the Obama Administrations Federal Trade Commission is trying to de-regulate their use with a restraint of trade argument.
A public hearing on rules around the use of hydrogen peroxide as a dental whitener is expected to advance moves to stop pharmacies and other shops selling some over-the-counter products.

Tooth whiteners which release more than 3.6 per cent hydrogen peroxide are likely to be the main target of such bans.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) will stage the hearing in Wellington on April 12 as it investigates whether such sales should be only be "under the direction of a qualified dentist".

Officials at the Dental Council and the Ministry of Health asked for two of the standards for use of hydrogen peroxide in dental whiteners to be changed, after some specialists said children and teenagers were wearing teeth-whitening strips on the way to school, and teenagers were abusing the bleaches at home through excessive use.
So, should there be more regulation because these materials are a drug or not because they are merely a cosmetic product? A hard call for teeth whiteners that contain low amounts of hydrogen peroxide and other ingredients.

In the USA, should the state dental boards decide what is dentistry and what should be regulated or should the federal government be able to set standards based on a free trade nexus? This is the crux of the FTC Vs. North Carolina Dental board case which is ongoing in the courts.

What are other countries doing?
Unlimited amounts of the bleaches are allowed in whitening products sold over-the-counter in the United States, but Britain, Japan and Greece all strictly limit the bleach levels in the products and block over-the-counter sales. There appears to be no specific legal restrictions in Australia.
Stay tuined as this issue is far from settled.

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