Image credit ES&T;
A few years back there was a panic over teflon cookware; we recommended that readers Dump those Teflon Pans, then formulae and methods were changed, then our Chemist John wrote that Consumer Reports Debunks the Teflon Pan/PFOA Exposure Myth. But perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are in lots of stuff, including everything from microwave popcorn bags to Glide dental floss. Now a study links them to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The study's leader, Brooks Gump, a psychologist at Syracuse University, got 83 kids to play a computer game, but players had to wait at least 20 seconds before they hit the space bar twice. They were rewarded with a quarter if they managed to wait, and got nothing if they didn't. He tells Chemical and Engineering News:
"This test measures a child's ability to put the brakes on responding," explains Gump. "And measures of response inhibition are directly related to impulsivity."
Impulsivity is evidently "a core ADHD feature." The researchers then tested the children for PFC levels:
They found that as blood levels went up, the children waited less between button presses. According to Gump, the results hint that PFC levels influence impulsivity. But he cautions that cause and effect are unclear: Children who are more impulsive to begin with may spend more time licking and chewing commercial products, giving them higher exposure to PFCs. "We need to figure out what direction this association goes in," Gump says, "because if PFCs really do influence impulsivity, then this is an important public health finding."
A few months ago, my dentist offered me a free sample of Glide dental floss. I declined, saying that I didn't think putting teflon in my mouth was a smart thing to do; They thought I was nuts. But then I can't wait 20 seconds to press the space bar.
More at Perfluorochemicals Linked With Impulsivity in Chemical and Engineering News
More on Perfluorinated Chemicals:
Consumer Reports Debunks the Teflon Pan/PFOA Exposure Myth
Beware the Food Wrappers