BuzzFeed News - These Five Brands Of Dental Floss May Expose People To Harmful Chemicals, Study Finds

January 9, 2019

By: Nidhi Subbaraman

Excerpt: "People may absorb toxic industrial chemicals from some brands of dental floss, a new study says. It’s the latest evidence that Americans are routinely exposed to this vast class of chemicals, known as PFAS, some of which have been linked to heart disease and cancer.

Women who said they flossed with Oral-B Glide floss had higher levels of a PFAS called perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) in their blood than those who didn’t, researchers reported Tuesday in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.

“I’m not trying to tell people, ‘don’t floss,’” Katie Boronow, a staff scientist at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts, who was part of the study, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s about choosing safer products.”

The CDC cites dental floss on a list of products that could contain PFAS. Studies in people have linked PFHxS to liver damage and a decreased immune response.

Although scientists have known that PFAS are used in Glide, “this finding suggests that it may be more important than expected,” said Courtney Carignan, an associate professor of food science and toxicology at Michigan State University who was not part of the study. ...

PFAS compounds are used in the manufacture of many consumer products, including Teflon and nonstick cookware, waterproofed shoes and clothes, carpets, upholstery, and some kinds of food packaging. (Colgate’s website describes its Total Dental Floss as a “single-strand Teflon fiber.”)

Firefighting foams used at airports and military bases also contain PFAS chemicals. The Department of Defense has identified 126 sites near military bases with PFAS in their drinking water sources. Dozens of municipalities near chemical factories that once made PFAS products are finding the compounds in the public water systems.

Philippe Grandjean, a professor of environmental health at Harvard who was not involved with the study, told BuzzFeed News in an email that he found the results meaningful, despite the possibility that survey participants could have been exposed to PFAS from other sources, too."

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