It is critical to be aware of the potential drawbacks as consumers seek out ecologically friendly alternatives in greater numbers. Paper straws are meant to reduce plastic waste, but the fact that they contain PFAS and other dangerous chemicals highlights the need for more thorough testing and clear labeling.
In the US, PFAS was recently discovered in drinking straws made of plants. Dr. Groffen and his associates were interested in learning if the same applied to products sold in Belgium. The research team bought 39 various kinds of drinking straws in five distinct types—paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel, and plastic—to further investigate this.
The most commonly found PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has been banned globally since 2020.
The straws underwent two rounds of PFAS testing after being mostly purchased from stores, supermarkets, and fast-food restaurants. 27/39, or 69%, of the brands tested included PFAS, and a total of 18 distinct PFASs were found.
The most likely source of PFAS were the paper straws, where the chemicals were found in 18/20 (90%) of the tested brands. PFAS were also found in 3/4 (75%) of the brands of plastic straws, 2/5 (40%) of the brands of glass straws, and 4/5 (80%) of bamboo straws brands. In any of the five different steel straw varieties tested, they were not found.
As part of the ongoing endeavor to lessen environmental pollution, paper straws have gained popularity as an alternative to plastic ones. Recent information, however, raises the possibility that even ostensibly eco-friendly options like paper straws may not be as secure as they seem. Paper straws’ safety for the environment and human health is being questioned in light of mounting evidence that they contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other potentially harmful compounds.
PFAS are man-made substances that are well-known for being resistant to oil and water. They have been connected to a number of illnesses, including cancer, trouble with reproduction, and immune system suppression. Surprisingly, a study by [Source 1] discovered that a sizable portion of the paper straw samples tested contained measurable amounts of PFAS. This information is especially concerning because PFAS are persistent and can gradually build up in the environment.
Additionally, chemicals used in the manufacturing of paper straws, like bleaching agents and dyes, have sparked concern. [Source 2] claims that when these compounds are exposed to liquids for a lengthy period of time, they may leak into beverages and present health hazards when consumed.
Source: Assessment of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in commercially available drinking straws using targeted and suspect screening approaches, Food Additives & Contaminants (2023). DOI: 10.1080/19440049.2023.2240908. www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/1 … 9440049.2023.2240908
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