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ADA Update on Polyethylene Microbeads in Toothpaste

Posted on September 23, 2014

CHICAGO — 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 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. 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.

The Council will continue to monitor and evaluate new scientific information on this issue as it becomes available.

Products with the ADA Seal have been independently evaluated for safety and effectiveness by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. The ADA “Guidelines for Participation in the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance Program” describe the general criteria for earning the ADA Seal.  In addition, many product categories have specific product guidelines that give the types of safety and effectiveness studies required.