Dental floss elevates levels of PFAS in humans, study says

Jan. 10 (UPI) — Oral-B Glide dental floss and other products contain PFAS, which researchers have associated with various negative health problems, a study says.

Women who flossed with Oral-B Glide had higher levels of a type of PFAS known as perfluorohexanesulfonic acid, or PFHxS, in their body versus women who didn’t use the floss, according to findings published Tuesday on Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.

Other generic versions of the brand that read “compare to Oral-B Glide” and another floss with the description “single strand Teflon fiber” also tested positive for fluorine, researchers report.

PFAS provide water- and grease-proof surfaces for multiple consumer products, but also contain chemicals that cause cancer. Researchers found 11 different PFAS chemicals in the women participating in the study.

“This is the first study to show that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals,” said Katie Boronow, a staff scientist at Silent Spring and study lead author, in a news release. “The good news is, based on our findings, consumers can choose flosses that don’t contain PFAS.”

PFAS is found in a number of other products like non-stick pans, fast food packaging, waterproof clothes and stain-resistant carpets. People can inhale indoor air and dust and contaminated drinking water that contains PFAS.

Black women who participated in the study had increased levels of four PFAS chemicals in their blood due to eating a lot of takeout food packaged in cardboard containers.

Scientists have linked PFAS to high cholesterol, kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, low birth weight, decreased fertility and effects on the immune system.

“Overall, this study strengthens the evidence that consumer products are an important source of PFAS exposure,” Boronow said. “Restricting these chemicals from products should be a priority to reduce levels in people’s bodies.”

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