* AUSTRALIA: Phillip Colquitt, a nurse and lab technician who runs an independent research company in Queensland, has found that electric toothbrushes may leave traces of heavy metals in the mouths of users.
After noticing a metallic taste following the use of his electric toothbrush, Mr. Colquitt scrubbed test tubes with the brush and several toothpastes and sent the slurries off for analysis.
According to Mr. Colquitt, a surprising amount of nickel and chromium came off with the brush. After six minutes' brushing, chromium levels were a fifth of the recommended daily intake. These metals have been known to trigger chelitis, an allergy that causes inflammation of the lips.
The findings will be reported in The Science of the Total Environment. Mr. Colquitt said that dentists should take a closer look at brushes with metal parts to find out if they pose a health risk. "In the meantime, I wouldn't use one," he commented.