New legislation proposed by the Food and Health Bureau in Hong Kong would make it illegal for beauticians to perform dental bleaching and other cosmetic procedures. Under the Medical Registration Ordinance, new guidelines will be set that classify high-risk medical procedures that only officially registered dentists and physicians would be permitted to perform. The legislation would take effect a few months after being accepted by a Legislative Council panel. It would cover hyperbaric oxygen therapy, chemical exfoliation and Botox injections in addition to tooth whitening.
Last autumn, a 46-year-old woman died after undergoing a blood transfusion therapy at a DR beauty centre in the Causeway Bay area. Several other incidences have occurred in the recent past involving cosmetic procedures offered at beauty spas and salons, a thriving business in China’s Special Administrative Region. The incidences, including the death, have raised grave concerns about non-professionals performing these risky procedures. The Hong Kong Dental Association and other professional organizations have repeatedly urged the government to address regulations, which allow non-professionals to perform these risky procedures.
“Tooth whitening is a chemical procedure that can cause irreversible damage to human teeth if handled improperly,” said council member Dr Alfred Yung. “Intra-oral treatment and dental procedures like tooth bleaching provided by non-dental or non-clinical professionals therefore pose a threat to public health and should be banned.” other countries in the region are also revamping their tooth-whitening regulations. New Zealand, for example, has restricted the sale of tooth-whitening products with high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and Australia has prohibited the sale of tooth-whitening products with more than 6 percent of the harmful chemical.
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