Warning after DIY Teeth Whitening Kits with Dangerous Levels of Bleach Seized in Coventry

Some of the 15,000 kits found at Coventry Airport contained 300 times the permitted level of hydrogen peroxide


UK – Thousands of DIY teeth whitening kits containing dangerous levels of bleach have been seized in Coventry. Trading standards confiscated 15,398 kits at the international Parcelforce hub at Coventry Airport between May 2015 and February 2016.

Some kits were found to contain 33 per cent hydrogen peroxide, which is 300 per cent over the legal level of bleach permitted in DIY products.

Dentists have warned that high levels of bleach can lead to stomach problems, mouth infections, toothache, shrinking gums and nerve damage.

Only registered dentists, hygienists, therapists or clinical dental technicians can carry out teeth whitening procedures as they are regulated by the General Dental Council.

The regulator has powers to investigate and prosecute unlicensed teeth whitening providers. Even then, the products they use can only contain a maximum level of 6 per cent bleach.

Shops can sell teeth whitening products to the general public, but they can only contain a maximum of 0.1 per cent bleach.

Officers targeted imports that they believed were going to be sold to the public or used by salon and unregistered practitioners. All of the confiscated goods, which are currently valued at £100,000, will be destroyed. The seizures form part of a joint operation between Warwickshire Trading Standards and UK Border Force.

Coun John Horner, spokesperson for community safety at Warwickshire County Council said: “There is now a global marketplace for goods and services and we are increasingly finding that many small businesses import their stocks direct from suppliers outside Europe.”

“Unfortunately, in many areas of the world, consumers do not get the same levels of protection UK shoppers expect and receive and products we consider dangerous are regularly manufactured and sold.”

Philip Johnson, chair of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, added: “Warwickshire Trading Standards will continue to work with the UK Border Force and other agencies to stop dangerous products from reaching our shop shelves and protect the public.” – Antonia Bannister

Eleanor Lake, from Warwickshire Trading Standards, with some of the illegal teeth whitening kits seized in Coventry.