Study: Floss Linked to Higher Levels of Chemicals in the Body

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Newton, MA—A press release from the Silent Spring Institute points to research suggesting certain consumer behaviors—including flossing with certain dental floss brands—can contribute to elevated levels in the body of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS chemicals, according to the release, are water- and grease-proof substances linked to numerous health problems. They are used in a range of products, including fast food packaging, non-stick pans and waterproof clothing. Besides being exposed through ingested food, people can be exposed through indoor air, dust and contaminated drinking water.

These chemicals, the release says, have been linked with kidney and testicular cancer, high cholesterol, and effects on the immune system, among other effects.

The research, led by Silent Spring Institute in collaboration with the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, CA,  measured 11 different PFAS chemicals in blood samples taken from 178 middle-aged women enrolled in the Public Health Institute’s Child Health and Development Studies, which explores the impact of environmental chemicals and other factors on disease. The finding: Women who flossed with Oral-B Glide tended to have higher levels of a certain type of PFAS in their body than those who didn’t, according to the release. Glide products tested positive for fluorine (a market or PFAS), as did store-brand flosses marketed as comparable to Oral-B Glide.

Natural products shoppers seeking for a fluorine-free floss might look to Toms of Maine or RADIUS as examples of floss from transparent, natural companies.

The full study, published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, can be found here.

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