“Microbeads” made the headlines last week . These polyethylene beads may be very small but they caused quite a big stir.
“Polyethylene microbeads are commonly used as scrub beads, such as in exfoliating products, but are also sometimes used in chewing gum and toothpaste, as part of the product design,” said the American Dental Association in last week’s press release. “Small quantities of the colored polyethylene specks are included in some of Crest’s toothpastes, including Crest Pro Health, which has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.”
Many investigative news shows, including Good Morning America, and articles shared details and photos of the microbeads.
The ADA also stated in their press release, “the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Council on Scientific Affairs, on an ongoing basis, monitors and evaluates the safety of all ADA Seal-Accepted products. If the council’s evaluation determines sufficient scientific evidence exists that an ADA Seal-Accepted product poses a health risk, the council has the authority to withdraw the Seal from that product. At this time, clinically relevant dental health studies do not indicate that the Seal should be removed from toothpastes that contain polyethylene microbeads.”
Polyethylene microbeads are used regularly in exfoliating facewashes to replace the natural scrubbing agents such as rice or oatmeal. However when they are used in some toothpastes and chewing gum, they are meant to provide a more appetizing product look to consumers, not for a strictly functional purpose.
Even though the microbeads have been deemed safe to use by the FDA, their use is being phased out by major manufacturers. Most plan to have them removed from all oral health products by spring of 2016.
Watch the complete Good Morning America segment here.
Changing Lives, One Smile at a Time
Dr. Randall Burba is an AACD accredited dentist, practicing in Salem, MA. He considers himself an artist – with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking. Follow Burba Dental Partners on Twitter and Facebook.