PFAS Forever Chemical on Eco-Friendly Straws: Study

If you think buying certain green products will help your fellow humans, animals and the environment, think again. According to researchers who tested one so-called ‘green’ product, when it comes to some eco-friendly straws, the exact opposite is true. Their findings? Some companies coat permeable products like biodegradable straws with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Yes, that is correct…some companies are coating so-called ‘eco-straws’ with the toxic Forever Chemical.

Study overview

To investigate whether biodegradable straws are all they are cracked up to be, the researchers tested 38 biodegradable straw brands purchased from Amazon in early 2020, and found 21 different PFAS chemicals. Equally distressing, a whopping 36 of the 38 brands tested had detectable PFAS.

Takeaway

The recent study demonstrated that some companies who market their straws as “biodegradable” may be misleading the public. Because of their carbon-fluorine bond, one of the strongest bonds in chemistry, PFAS chemicals do not break down in the environment.

And, while it is unlikely that sucking on these straws in and of itself would be particularly harmful to health and well-being, the fact is that endocrine-disrupting chemicals like PFAS are ubiquitous in our lives, are “dose-dependent” and can accumulate in the body, adding to your chemical body burden. And that is never recommended. Additionally, scientific studies have linked PFAS to numerous serious health outcomes including kidney and testicular cancer, liver malfunction, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, lower birth weight and size, obesity, decreased immune response to vaccines, cardiometabolic risk for teenagers and male infertility, among other problems*.

*For more information on the scientific findings of PFAS, scroll down to the search box at the bottom of any of our blog posts and enter “PFAS” or ask us using the Contact page.


Journal reference: AlinaTimshina, Juan J.Aristizabal-Henao, Bianca F. Da Silva & John A. Bowden. The last straw: Characterization of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in commercially-available plant-based drinking straws, Chemosphere, Volume 277, August 2021, 130238. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130238