Oral-B Glide dental floss contributes to elevated levels of toxic PFAS chemicals in the body, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology. Scientists have become worried about the widespread exposure of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). These substances, which are water- and grease-proof, have been linked with kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, low birth weight, decreased fertility and immune system damage.
“This is the first study to show that using dental floss containing PFAS is associated with a higher body burden of these toxic chemicals,” says lead author Katie Boronow, a scientist at Silent Spring.
Researchers 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, a multigenerational study of the impact of environmental chemicals on disease.
Women who flossed with Oral-B Glide tended to have elevated levels of PFHxS (perfluorohexanesulfonic acid) in their body. To further understand the results, researchers tested 18 dental flosses (including three Glide products) for the presence of fluorine — a marker of PFAS — using a technique called particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) spectroscopy.
A representative for Procter & Gamble, which manufactures Glide products, tells the New York Post, who published a story on the matter, that “[t]he safety of the people who use our products is our No. 1 priority. Our dental floss undergoes thorough safety testing and we stand by the safety of all our products.”
“Overall, this study strengthens the evidence that consumer products are an important source of PFAS exposure” says Boronow. “Restricting these chemicals from products should be a priority to reduce levels in people’s bodies,” she added. “The good news is, based on our findings, consumers can choose flosses that don’t contain PFAS.”