Scientists have found small amounts of long-lasting chemicals, also known as “Forever Chemicals” or PFAS, in environmentally friendly paper and bamboo straws. This raises concerns about their usefulness as a replacement for plastic straws.
The Belgian scientists tested a large number of straws from a variety of sources such as supermarkets, shops and fast food restaurants. They found that most straws contained PFAS, synthetic chemicals used in the manufacture of consumer products for their ability to resist stains, grease and water. The researchers looked at 39 different types of straws made from materials including paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel and plastic. Of these, PFAS levels were found to be low in 27. The results were recently published in the journal Food Additives and Contaminants.
PFAS are persistent in soil, water and the atmosphere. They can be found in a variety of products such as cosmetics, carpets, furniture, food packaging and textiles such as raincoats or sportswear. The study found that paper straws were the most likely to contain PFAS of all the straws tested. 18 of the 20 brands contained PFAS, while only three out of four plastic straws and two out of five glass straws contained the substance. Four out of five bamboo straws analyzed also contained PFAS. However, five of the stainless steel straws tested were free of PFAS. Historically, PFAS have been found in paper and other plant-based straws, as well as in various types of cookware and packaging.
Researchers are still trying to understand the health effects of PFAS exposure, including: There is an increased risk of low birth weight, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and kidney and liver cancer. It is uncertain what level of exposure is dangerous. Thimo Gröffen, an environmental scientist at the University of Antwerp, is unsure whether PFAS was intentionally used as a waterproof coating on the straws he studied. They also suggested that PFAS may have inadvertently entered the straw-making process, or that bamboo straws may have low levels of PFAS due to contact with contaminated soil.
According to Groffen, people who use straws don’t have to worry too much about their personal risk. He pointed out that the straw is unlikely to be very harmful, but it is important to avoid unnecessary exposure to PFAS. Because they get accumulated in the body. Groffen advised people to reduce their exposure where possible, as the combination of different routes of exposure could potentially lead to health problems.
The fact that the European Union was able to enforce a ban on plastic straws generally indicates that the politics of the occasion is uncanny. Because the rivers of Asia, which are dirty beyond recognition, certainly won’t get cleaned up as a result, nor can it be assumed that the straw from Central Europe will end up in the sea – because there is very good recycling of plastic in it. country too. So educating was a sham to make people feel bad and guilty again – leaving the actual polluters untouched. And: especially in the east of the EU, countries don’t care about this requirement, you can still get your plastic straws there. Which shows that not all people like to bow their heads before meaningless rules.