EUROPA > DG Health and Consumer Protection > Public Health  Contact | Search | What's New? | Subscribe | Site Map | Index 
Tooth Whiteners home
Source document:
SCCP (2007)

Summary & Details:
GreenFacts (2007)

Tooth Whiteners & Oral Hygiene Products containing hydrogen peroxide

1. What is hydrogen peroxide and what is it used for?

Hydrogen peroxide is used in some toothpastes
Hydrogen peroxide is used in some toothpastes
Source: Sergei Krassii

Hydrogen peroxide is a highly reactive chemical containing the elements hydrogen and oxygen (H2O2). Pure hydrogen peroxide is a colourless liquid, but it is sold on the market as solutions in water, containing up to 33 – 37% pure hydrogen peroxide and other additives to prevent product decomposition. In industry, it is mainly used in the production of chemicals and in bleaching of cellulose pulp and textiles. In Europe, 750 000 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide were produced in 1995.

Carbamide peroxide (CO(NH2)2.H2O2) is a chemical that contains hydrogen peroxide and urea – an organic compound. Pure carbamide peroxide has the form of white crystals or crystal powder, is soluble in water, and contains approximately 35% hydrogen peroxide. In Europe, about 300 tonnes of carbamide peroxide were used in 1995.

Both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide have cosmetic uses, mainly as bleaches in consumer products such as hair bleaches, hair perming products, hair relaxers, tooth whiteners. Low concentrations may also be used in oral hygiene products such as mouth rinses and toothpastes as a disinfectant to prevent plaque and inflammation of the gums. More...

In the European Union, cosmetics are regulated by the Cosmetics Directive


The Three-Level Structure used to communicate this SCCP Opinion is copyrighted by GreenFacts asbl/vzw