‘Paper straws’ may damage the world as much as plastic straws

After the trend of sustainability and environmental conservation have played more important roles in society, many businesses have become more concerned with the world by reducing plastic products to biodegradable products such as paper and bamboo and what we often see is the changes from plastic straws to paper straws.

However, scientists have recently revealed that paper straws which people use to protect the environment instead of plastic straws, actually contain toxic chemicals that affect the environment as much as using plastic ones.

A recent study by a Belgian researcher who first tested 39 different types of straws found that paper straws, which we believe are environmentally friendly, contain a large amount of toxic chemicals called poly and perfluoroalkyl (PFAS) or ‘permanent chemicals’ in paper and bamboo straws.

According to the test of almost all straws in the European market, 90% of straws in the market have PFAS, which is 80 % bamboo, 75 % plastic, and 40 % glass. The metal straws have no chemicals at all. From the study, it was not possible to determine from which stage these chemicals were contaminated.

PFAS is a chemical group that can be found in non-panned kitchen utensils, cleaning products, foam, apron and construction materials. These substances will be harmful to people, animals and the environment, as these chemicals will remain in the environment for thousands of years. Although the material is completely decomposed, it remains in soil, water, air, and body, causing people to call it a ‘permanent chemical.’

The scientists also found it linked to people’s health problems, which last for many years in the human body, including reduced response to vaccines, the weight of firstborn children below the threshold, increased thyroid disease, increased cholesterol, destroyed liver, kidney cancer, and reproductive system. As a result, PFAS has been banned worldwide since 2020.

This substance is also harmful to animals. According to the research, more PFAS compounds have been found in animals of more than 120 species, including some threatened or endangered species such as polar bears and tigers, reptiles, birds, and small mammals such as cats, frogs, and fish.

Therefore, the world’s safest and best choice now is to choose metal straws that can be cleaned, try to reduce, and avoid using paper straws that not only create harmful substances but also generate more waste as much as plastic ones. If the research results prove clear, it may affect the paper straws business shortly.

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