Blog Why do other paper straws have PFAS?

Why do other paper straws have PFAS?

You know what’s not cool? Chemicals in your drink. 

At SOFi, we’re proud to offer durable paper straws that not only last your entire drink but are also free of harmful chemicals.

So why do so many paper and bamboo straw makers use “forever chemicals” like PFAS in their straws?

Let’s get into it.

What’s happening

Scientists in Belgium recently tested a variety of paper and bamboo straws from supermarkets, retail stores, and fast-food restaurants and found the majority contained PFAS. These scientists discovered that nearly 70% of the straws tested contained PFAS — with paper straws being the most likely to have it. 

PFAS — or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances — refers to more than 4,000 chemicals that are known as “forever chemicals” as they take centuries to biodegrade. 

Manufacturers use these chemicals to help resist stains, grease, and water. You’ll find PFAS in items ranging from food packaging and non-stick cooking surfaces to clothing and cosmetics.

The problem

PFAS chemicals are linked to reproductive harm, learning delays in children, cancer, liver damage, and other serious ailments.

When PFAS items end up in landfills, the chemicals seep into soil and water sources and later end up in foods and beverages. Tests of tap water across the U.S. have found PFAS contamination in 2,854 sites in all 50 states and two U.S. territories, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group.

When consumed, PFAS can stay in fish, wildlife, and people’s bodies for years, adversely harming their health. In 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended the designation of two PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances. 

So why include PFAS in paper straws?

The study’s authors didn’t offer a definitive reason why these manufacturers would include PFAS in their straws or if they did so intentionally. 

PFAS may have been used to provide waterproof coating, said Thimo Groffen, an environmental scientist at the University of Antwerp who authored the study. It’s also possible that PFAS inadvertently ended up in these straws during production or that the bamboo straws were made from plants grown in PFAS-contaminated soil. 

Sip at ease with SOFi

While we don’t know why manufacturers would include PFAS in their straws, you can rest assured that SOFi’s wide variety of straws are free of PFAS. 

We created our straws to offer customers an environmentally-conscious alternative to plastic straws — as well as a safe option that’s free of harmful chemicals. Our straws are durable enough to last your whole drink, are 100% compostable, and will biodegrade within 180 days. 


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