Shoppers warned – beware toxins in hair dyes and teeth whiteners

Shoppers have grown accustomed to looking down the ingredients of foodstuffs to check for additives, calories, and fat and salt content.

Now, however, they are being urged by Croydon’s trading standards team to adopt a similar approach when they are out buying cosmetic products.

Two banned chemicals – sodium perborate and perboric acid – have been found in hair dyes, particularly those aimed at the Afro-Caribbean market. They are also known to be used in some tooth-whitening gels.

Both substances are banned from use – in any concentration – in cosmetic products across Europe because it is believed they are harmful to human health, causing cancer, harming fertility and endangering unborn babies.

Large retailers, including supermarket chains, web-based marketplace sellers and auction sites have recently removed a number of popular branded products containing these chemicals from sale. It is thought, however, that some smaller retailers may be unaware of the issues, and continue to have the products on their shelves.

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice

“The main concern now is on the products being made outside Europe for sale in other countries that still permit these ingredients and that might find their way onto the UK market.

“Consumers should be careful to make sure of the ingredients in their cosmetic products, especially if they are made outside the EU and have been imported, or, perhaps, brought in by family members as gifts.

“These products may have been used in the past, and preferred by some consumers because they are felt to be effective, and they may not have noticed any immediate ill effects. By the time they do, however, it could be too late.”

Anybody who has recently purchased a product containing sodium perborate or perboric acid is advised not to use it, and to return it to the retailer for a refund.

And anybody who sees cosmetic products containing sodium perborate or perboric acid for sale in Croydon, is asked to contact Croydon’s trading standards team on 020 8407 1311 or email

2016-02-25T15:38:39+00:00 February 25th, 2016|Recent news|