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Toxic PFAS Chemicals in Dental Floss -- Woman Looking at Dental Floss

Answer:

Some brands of dental floss include PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of chemicals that includes Teflon) to reduce friction. A study in 2019 suggested that PFAS appear to be ingested from floss and make their way into the blood. This is concerning because PFAS have been shown to cause tumors in animals; and in people, higher exposure to certain PFAS is associated with increased cholesterol, effects on the immune system, changes in liver enzymes, increased risk of kidney or liver cancer, thyroid hormone disruption, and low infant birth weights (EPA 2018; CDC 2020). Unfortunately, labels on dental floss are not always clear as to whether or not they contain PFAS.

Sign in as a ConsumerLab member to find out which of 18 popular dental flosses may contain PFAS and which do not, as well as the names of 6 additional dental flosses and 4 dental picks that claim to be PFAS-free. Also see how companies responded when we asked them if their dental flosses contain PFAS, and learn about other products (including some drinking straws, bottled water and processed foods) that contain PFAS, how exposure to PFAS can affect breast milk, what's being proposed in Europe to address the problem of PFAS, and which water filters seem to be best for removing PFAS from tap water.

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