The Toxic Truth: 90% of ‘Eco-Friendly’ Paper Straws Contain ‘Forever Chemicals’

By: | August 31st, 2023

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We all believe that we’re contributing to environmental efforts as we sip our beverages through paper straws.

However, a recent study has revealed that this so-called ‘eco-friendly’ alternative contains harmful forever chemicals. These chemicals are scientifically termed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

These substances do not break down easily and can accumulate in soil, water, and organisms. They can take hundreds or even thousands of years to break down in the environment. This is the reason they are commonly referred to as ‘forever chemicals.’

Belgian researchers examined 39 straw brands for PFAS.

The tested drinking straws were crafted from five different materials: paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel, and plastic. The PFAS were detected in the majority of the tested straws (27 out of 39 brands), with a higher prevalence in paper and bamboo options. A total of 18 different PFAS compounds were identified by the researchers.

‘Eco-friendly’ paper straws are the most harmful straws!

Out of all the straws tested, paper straws had the highest presence of PFAS, with 90 percent (18 out of 20 brands) containing these chemicals. PFAS were also found in 80 percent (four out of five brands) of bamboo straws, 75 percent (three out of four brands) of plastic straws, and 40 percent (two out of five brands) of glass straws.

Interestingly, none of the five tested brands of steel straws contained PFAS.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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