EU Legislation, Teeth Whitening & the Cosmetic Regulations

J Dodds made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Health and Social Care

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Dear Department of Health,

Further to a recent request for information. I have received confirmation from the EU as follows:

In accordance with the provisions of Directive 2011/84/UE, products whitening or bleaching teeth containing 0.1% or less of hydrogen peroxide present or released can be freely placed on the market and can be readily available to consumers. The Directive does not impose restrictions on the training of people who would use these products. Consumers themselves can apply these products, as well as dentists or others.

However, to obtain insurance providers of teeth whitening services must be trained.

Hairdressers are not regulated and do not need qualifications or formal training either to carry out hairdressing services in the UK. They too use peroxide and hair dye has killed and maimed people, but these products remain freely available to consumers and others.

I have read the EU site about the transposition of EU directives as well as the section regarding the principle of freedom of establishment enables an economic operator (whether a person or a company) to carry on an economic activity in a stable and continuous way in one or more Member States.

The principle of the freedom to provide services enables an economic operator providing services in one Member State to offer services on a temporary basis in another Member State, without having to be established.

This means, in practice, that Member States must modify national laws that restrict freedom of establishment, or the freedom to provide services, and are therefore incompatible with these principles. Member States may only maintain such restrictions in specific circumstances where these are justified by overriding reasons of general interest, for instance on grounds of public policy, public security or public health; and where they are proportionate.

I cannot find any special exemption to the Cosmetic Safety regulations on any grounds for the UK or anywhere else in Europe.

The new legislation which came into force yesterday 31/10/12, clearly specifies the peroxide levels dentists can use and those that are freely available to consumers and others.

Dr Stuart Johnston, a member of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee, and Chair of the Council of European Dentists’ working group on whitening products, said: "The transposition of the European Directive into UK law makes possible a new era of patient safety in tooth whitening. We must now make that possibility a reality. Dentists must be diligent in reporting any non-dentists performing whitening, and Trading Standards and the GDC must put safety first and take action to protect the public.

It appears that the UK government are allowing the GDC to breach EU law, by its harassment of non-dental teeth whitening professionals in the media and on the internet as well as via the issue of very frightening letters and threats of prosecution.

Responsible teeth whitening businesses should be allowed to operate freely throughout the EU community without fear of harassment or prosecution.

Can you advise me what the UK government's position is on this very serious matter?

Yours faithfully,

J Dodds

Department of Health and Social Care

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
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References

Visible links
1. Department's website
http://transparency.dh.gov.uk/category/t...
2. http://www.nhs.uk/
3. http://www.direct.gov.uk/
4. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm
5. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/c...
6. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/c...
7. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/
8. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInforma...

Dear Department of Health,

Just for clarification, my understanding is as follows:

In order for a dentist to deliver peroxide between 0.1 - 6% peroxide they will create tooth impressions, which is the practice of dentistry. A non-dentist would not carry out this procedure.

Businesses selling custom made dental trays on the internet are dental technicians and the consumer creates the impression themselves at home. The tooth whitening customer then purchases strong peroxide gels from the internet, usually from the USA.

Dentists who choose to apply gels to the tooth use 15-35% peroxide gels.

I am, therefore for good reasons deeply concerned about the current regime and without doubt thousands of reputable businesses throughout the UK will be very concerned too; some companies have invested heavily in the UK market. Furthermore, the UK government and the GDC has not taken action for the past 6-7 years and this has allowed teeth whitening business to flourish. Reputable companies have also taken direction from the EU as well as legal advice regarding the practice of dentistry.

The UK government said:
Http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?i...

Let me give some of the context. I shall not go into all the lengthy detail of previous court cases in the late 1990s, but in 2001 the House of Lords ruled that tooth-whitening products should be regulated under the directive, on the basis that the whitening of teeth was a cosmetic process and discoloured teeth were not regarded as a handicap under the medical devices legislation. The directive is implemented in the UK by the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008, which—as the Hon. Gentleman said—are enforced on my Department's behalf by local authority trading standards departments.

In the circumstances, I am unable to identify any reason why legal teeth whitening can be considered dentistry, when it is simply a cosmetic process in the same way as hair dying, electrolysis, tattooing, body piercing etc., which carry greater risk.

It is common practice for beauticians and dentists to use light activation for a variety of treatments. The therapist and dentists are both trained to apply the relevant hygiene protocols.

If unsafe products are available in the the market place, then these should be removed. The EU has far more stringent testing than the USA.

Various people have attempted to raise their concern with the GDC, but they get the same response; that they "believe tooth whitening is dentistry", this has been their stance since 2006.

In my view, the new legislation makes it clearer what is a cosmetic tooth whitening process and what is a dental procedure.

Yours faithfully,

J Dodds

Department of Health and Social Care

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health.
This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.
Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send one within 18 working days,
or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of Information request or
complaint.
If you have contacted the Department of Health about a current health or
social care campaign, please visit the [1]Department's website where a
response may have been published.

If your enquiry is about a medical matter, please contact NHS Direct on
0845 4647 or visit [2]NHS Choices, or contact your GP surgery.

For general health information you may also find it helpful to refer to
[3]Directgov, the UK Government’s Official information website, or the
Department of Health website’s [4]Frequently Asked Questions.  You can
also view our [5]performance against quarterly service targets.
Please note that the Department of Health does not process complaints
about the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [6]'How to make a complaint' page on the Department's
website.
 
You can find out more about the Department’s commitments from our
[7]Customer Charter and [8]Information Charter.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. Department's website
http://transparency.dh.gov.uk/category/t...
2. http://www.nhs.uk/
3. http://www.direct.gov.uk/
4. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm
5. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/c...
6. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/c...
7. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/
8. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInforma...

Department of Health and Social Care

Our ref: DE00000736968
 
Dear Mr/MsDodds,
 
Thank you for your further emails of 1 and 2 November about teeth
whitening.  I have been asked to reply and I hope that you will accept
this as a response to both of your emails.
 
You asked for both of your emails to be treated under the Freedom of
Information (FOI) Act.  However, as your emails asked for general
information rather than requesting recorded information, the Department of
Health has not considered your correspondence under the provisions of the
FOI Act.
 
As my colleague John Wallis mentioned in his email to you of 18 October
(our reference DE00000730200), the General Dental Council (GDC) is the
organisation that regulates dental professionals in the UK.  You should be
aware that the GDC is independent of government, under the longstanding
policy of successive governments that health professions like medicine and
dentistry should be self-regulating.  As a result, the Department of
Health has no direct influence over decisions made by the GDC.  The GDC
has decided that tooth whitening, irrespective of the products used,
comprises the practice of dentistry which may only be carried out by
dentists and dental care professionals, such as dental hygienists working
under the direction of a dentist.
 
The most recent information given to you is the most up-to-date and
accurate available, and there is nothing further that I can add to this. 
The Government’s position remains as set out in the department’s earlier
replies to you.
 
I hope this reply is helpful.
 
Yours sincerely,
  
Mary Heaton
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health
16 November 2012
 

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Dear Ms Heaton

We appear to have a similar situation here as in the USA.

The Federal Trade Commission concluded December 2011 that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners (equivalent of the GDC in the UK) illegally thwarted competition by working to bar non-dentist providers of teeth-whitening products and services from selling their products to consumers.

According to a unanimous opinion and final order issued by the FTC on Dec. 2, the Dental Board's conduct constituted concerted action and the board had failed to provide a legitimate pro-competitive justification for its conduct. The actions of the dental board, a state agency created to regulate the dentistry practice in North Carolina, resulted in higher prices and fewer choices for consumers, the FTC said. The Commission said that the Dental Board has no authority over non-dentists but may ask a state court to determine that particular conduct constitutes the unauthorized practice of dentistry and issue an injunction. The Commission required the board to cease telling non-dentists that it is illegal to provide their teeth-whitening products or services and it also bared the board from communicating to third parties that the provision of these services by a non-dentist provider is a violation of the Dental Practice

The GDC disregards the provisions of the EU Directive and bases their position on the Dentist Act of 1984. Surprisingly enough this act doesn’t deem tooth whitening as the act of dentistry - it doesn’t even mention the words “ whitening” or “ bleaching” -, and it was drafted in 1984, when chair-side tooth whitening wasn’t even practiced in the UK. Not even section 38, which the GDC usually mentions, seems to be applicable. Section 38 says “A person who is not a registered dentist […] shall not practise or hold himself out, whether directly and by implication, as practicing or as being prepared to practise dentistry”.

Spas and salons don’t hold themselves out as being prepared to practice dentistry. They offer a cosmetic treatment, as deemed by the European Commission.

So in reality the whole conflict is based on an OPINION, on the fact that the GDC BELIEVES that tooth whitening should constitute the act of dentistry, even though no UK or EU law confirms that interpretation.

I, therefore urge the UK authorities to defend the rights of any citizen who chooses to offer this service, as long as they comply with the law, and reminds the Department of Health of their obligation to remain unbiased.

Opinions are very respectable, but opinion must never override the law, and our rulers should never turn a blind eye to situations in which the rights of UK individuals are being violated.

Yours faithfully,

J Dodds

Department of Health and Social Care

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health.
This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.
Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send one within 18 working days,
or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of Information request or
complaint.
If you have contacted the Department of Health about a current health or
social care campaign, please visit the [1]Department's website where a
response may have been published.

If your enquiry is about a medical matter, please contact NHS Direct on
0845 4647 or visit [2]NHS Choices, or contact your GP surgery.

For general health information you may also find it helpful to refer to
[3]Directgov, the UK Government’s Official information website, or the
Department of Health website’s [4]Frequently Asked Questions.  You can
also view our [5]performance against quarterly service targets.
Please note that the Department of Health does not process complaints
about the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [6]'How to make a complaint' page on the Department's
website.
 
You can find out more about the Department’s commitments from our
[7]Customer Charter and [8]Information Charter.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. Department's website
http://transparency.dh.gov.uk/category/t...
2. http://www.nhs.uk/
3. http://www.direct.gov.uk/
4. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FAQ/index.htm
5. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/c...
6. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/c...
7. http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/contact-dh/
8. http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/FreedomOfInforma...

Dear Department of Health,

I wish to withdraw this request.

Yours faithfully,

J Dodds

tim grosvenor left an annotation ()

I THINK THE ABOVE SAYS IT ALL!CRIMINALS RARELY LIKE BEING TOLD WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS ILLEGAL. Dodds is clearly in a hurry to hide this from the public domain, hence her wish to remove it.Now see Dodds writing on other sites (different aliases) still telling the public the opposite of what you read above from the official source.Beware particularly a website called platform for justice teeth whitening or the such like.GENERAL PUBLIC BEWARE!!Always check a reputable source or simple internet search.Many scamsters in many guises.

J Dodds left an annotation ()

What a pity Grosvenor's mouth isn't as big as his or her pea sized brain - he or she is clearly a disgruntled member of some profession allied to teeth whitening no matter what or who they purport to be on this site.

I look forward to his or her psychopathic rants, they're amusing and give us a laugh - keep them coming - it's better than watching a comedy - what a delusional prat - but nevertheless they're hilarious!

tim grosvenor left an annotation ()

GENERAL PUBLIC: I rest my case.

J Dodds left an annotation ()

I rest mine too - clearly Grosvenor is SO delusional he or she appears to think the majority of people haven't seen straight through his or her lies and what they're really trying to do - you're clearly someone who isn't a researcher at all and more probably is someone working in the dental profession who loathes the independent non dental teeth whitening companies because they're under cutting their prices and taking business from them.

As has been mentioned by another contributor, the site at www.platformforjusticeteethwhitening.com lays out the truth and the facts, unlike Grosvenor's rants which are also only there because he or she can't produce a legally based counter argument - the best they offer is other people's 'opinions' or 'beliefs' which no matter how hard you try, aren't the law, not forgetting of course their other pathetic modus operandi which is name calling - strange isn't it? Despite the fact this obvious idiot gives vent to their anger via words such as 'criminal' and 'liars' I note that when I retort with a rather tame (by comparison) use of the word 'prat' - the best they can say is I rest my case - if you don't like the heat - stay out of the kitchen Grosvenor - you are the absolute classic case of 'you can dish it out - but you can't take it'!

You clearly feel threatened by your competitors via an obvious display of over the top bile.

I understand of course WHY you hide behind a facade of lies, claimimg to be a researcher, when obviously you're not, because if the G.D.C. found a member of the dental profession bringing the profession into disrepute they would be in VERY hot water indeed, wouldn't they?

It's much easier to present a 'cover story' to spout your bile.

My suggestion is that you go back to your teeth whitening business and reduce your prices - as the profits you must be making are enormous.

Stop whinging and moaning and slagging off your competitors by pretending to be a researcher - offer the public a reasonable price - I'm sure you won't starve - I've yet to see a poor dentist.

I'm off on holiday tomorrow so wanted to get this in before leaving, I have more important things to do now so my time on this site will end with this post as too will any further activity.

So over to you Grosvenor - rant away - any reasonable person can see who and what you are, but if you take my advice - simpoly reduce your prices - the public will certainly be happier - and wealthier!

tim grosvenor left an annotation ()

GENERAL PUBLIC: KETTLE, POT, BLACK??
Always check facts independently from a reputable source or simple internet search.Beware illegal scamsters such as Dodds.

Pauline White left an annotation ()

There has now been many prosecutions against non-dentists that offer teeth whitening illegally from companies such as Megawhite

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