If you or your restaurant use paper straws, beware the PFAS contamination you may be facing especially in hot or oily drinks such as coffees or cocktails.
PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been used in a variety of consumer products, including non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and food packaging. Recently, concerns have been raised about the presence of PFAS in drinking straws.
PFAS are known for their non-stick and water-repellent properties, which make them useful in a variety of products. However, these same properties make them extremely difficult to break down in the environment, leading to their classification as "forever chemicals." This means that once PFAS enter the environment, they can persist for long periods of time, potentially accumulating in the bodies of animals and humans.
The presence of PFAS in drinking straws is a particular concern because they are often used by children, who are more vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals. In addition, straws are typically used for a short period of time before being discarded, which means that they are likely to end up in landfills or the environment, where they can continue to release PFAS.
One study found that several popular brands of paper drinking straws contained PFAS, although the levels were generally low. However, the study also found that the PFAS levels increased significantly when the straws were exposed to heat or grease, which is likely to happen when they are used for drinking hot beverages or for consuming oily foods.
There are currently no regulations in place specifically addressing the use of PFAS in drinking straws. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a "lifetime health advisory" for PFAS in drinking water, which recommends that people avoid exposure to levels of PFAS that exceed 70 parts per trillion. It is unclear whether this advisory would apply to PFAS in drinking straws, but it is a potential concern.
In conclusion, the presence of PFAS in drinking straws is a concern due to the potential health effects of these chemicals and their potential to accumulate in the environment. While the levels of PFAS in straws may be low, the potential for exposure to heat and grease during use may increase these levels. It is important for consumers to be aware of this issue and to consider alternatives to PFAS-containing straws.
The only drinking straw without PSAF that is also single use and priced as such are Blue Planet Straws by Shaffer Foods.