Doctor says 'environmentally-friendly' straws are not as safe as you think

@drjoshredd/TikTok Ivanova Tetyana/ShutterStock (Licensed)

Doctor says ‘environmentally-friendly’ straws are not as safe as you think

'Paper straws give me nails on a chalkboard feeling on my teeth'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Jan 28, 2024   Updated on Jan 28, 2024, 7:23 pm CST

Love ’em or hate ’em, those papery “environmentally friendly” straws have become the standard in more and more places, replacing the once-standard plastic straw. But this doctor says they’re not as good as some people might think.

In a viral TikTok video, Dr. Josh Redd (@drjoshredd), a chiropractic physician, said those paper straws also harm the environment and the people using them.

“You know those paper straws that are really good for the environment? Well, the glue that holds it together is extremely toxic. So if you’re faced with those straws, you’re better off just drinking out of the cup,” Redd said.

Paper straws infiltrated your favorite restaurants and coffee shops years ago under the guise of being a solution against plastic straws. Unlike plastic straws, which can take about 200 years to decompose, paper ones are supposed to do the same thing in just 60 days—a fraction of the time compared to plastic.

While those statistics are convincing, what seems to have mobilized many people were images and videos of sea turtles writhing in pain after getting the plastic contraptions, which we easily discard in the trash, stuck in their noses.

With paper straws, that seemingly wouldn’t be an issue since they go limp after being in a liquid for an extended period of time. That’s, of course, the same reason people argue that paper was never meant to be in straw form. Well, paper straw haters have one more reason to be against them.

@drjoshredd #drjoshredd #autoimmunedisease #toxins #toxicproducts #glutenfree #antiinflammatory #functionalmedicine #autoimmunity #healthtok ♬ Living in a Haze (Instrumental) – Milky Chance

In a follow-up, Redd added that paper and bamboo straws contain “forever chemicals” called PFAS to make them more waterproof.

A Belgian research study confirmed this in a study in which they tested 39 brands of paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel and plastic. The paper straws were the most likely to contain the PFAS, with 18 of the 20 brands having it and four of the five bamboo straws having it. But, the concentration of PFAS was “very low.”

PFAs can be found in water, soil, the air, home material, and even the food you eat. A few common items known to have PFAS are public drinking water systems, some fish and dairy, fast food wrappers, stain removers, and some shampoos, dental floss, and cosmetics, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Because of their widespread use and their persistence in the environment, many PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products and in the environment,” the EPA reported.

These PFAS are linked to “low birth weight, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and an increased risk of kidney and liver cancers,” the doctor said. This is true, according to the EPA, but it depends on exposure levels.

@drjoshredd Paper and bamboo straws contain “forever chemicals” called PFAS   PFAS are chemicals that help make straws more waterproof   PFAS linger almost permanently in air, water, and soil   Paper straws are the most likely to have PFAS, followed by bamboo and plastic   PFAS are found in plant-based straws, too   PFAS are linked to low birth weight, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, and an increased risk of kidney and liver cancers   While one straw is a small exposure, it’s part of the larger toxic soup that is modern life, and PFAS accumulate in the body   The solution? Stainless steel straws are the most non-toxic option For those that understand how to read research, rather than citing 100 papers, put PFAS into the search bar of pubmed and enjoy the next few hours of reading. #pfa #toxins #straws #paperstraw #healthyliving #toxicproducts #healthtok ♬ Too Late – Wake the Wild

“While one straw is a small exposure, it’s part of the larger toxic soup that is modern life, and PFAS accumulate in the body,” the doctor stated in the comments.

The video has more than 1.7 million views and thousands of comments.

“Paper straws give me nails on a chalkboard feeling on my teeth,” the top comment read.

“I just need to explain to me in a logical manner why we need the paper straw when most of the time they come in a plastic wrapper or with a plastic cup,” a person pointed out.

However, one of the Belgian researchers said that paper straws are still better for the environment than plastic ones since they don’t leech out microplastics and can decompose more quickly. If you really want to do what’s best for the environment, stainless steel is the way to go, he said.

The Daily Dot reached out to Redd for comment via email.

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*First Published: Jan 28, 2024, 8:00 pm CST