Can dental floss harm your body? Discover the latest study findings.
A recent study suggests that the use of certain dental floss types may contribute to increased levels of harmful chemicals in the body, leading to various health issues. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health found that PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), known for their water- and grease-resistant properties, are associated with cancer, thyroid disease, and fertility disorders.
The study, published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology (JESEE), sheds light on how these chemicals enter the human body and suggests that consumers can minimize exposure by altering their behaviors. PFAS are commonly found in products like fast food packaging, non-stick pans, waterproof clothing, and stain-resistant carpets.
Exposure to PFAS can occur through direct contact with these products, consumption of contaminated food and water, as well as exposure to indoor air and dust. Widespread exposure to PFAS raises concerns among scientists due to its link to various health problems such as kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, low birth weight, decreased fertility, and immune system effects.
The study involved measuring 11 different PFAS chemicals in blood samples from 178 middle-aged women. By comparing blood measurements with interview results on behaviors influencing PFAS exposure, researchers identified patterns. Women using Oral-B Glide dental floss tended to have higher levels of PFHxS (perfluorohexanesulfonic acid) in their bodies compared to non-users. Subsequent tests on 18 dental flosses revealed that all three Glide products contained fluorine, indicating the presence of PFAS.
The study concludes that consumers can opt for dental flosses without PFAS to reduce their exposure. Other behaviors linked to elevated PFAS levels included having stain-resistant carpets or furniture and residing in a city with a PFAS-contaminated drinking water supply. The findings underscore the importance of understanding and mitigating exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals.