Short Straw

August 31st


This recent article updates the results of a research project undertaken by the University of Antwerp, Belgium that flags an often-misunderstood perception.

Yes – PFAS is everywhere and perhaps of greater concern is increasingly where we are actively seeking to reduce or replace it.

This fresh research identified that 27 of the 39 brands of drinking straws tested for the presence of PFAS actually contained PFAS.  The cohort delivered the surprising outcome with paper straws as the most likely to test positive for PFAS – with higher concentrations than the plastic straws.

Unfortunately, this set of results is not overly surprising.  In 2019, PFAS-free Australia commissioned trials of straws manufactured using Certified PFAS-free base paper material.  The core substrate was tested to contain less than 70 ppm of PFAS and presented with all of the required parameters of high water resistance and a triple-layer construction in the finished product.  The problem arose with the straw manufacturer using adhesive agents that were not equally limited in the presence of PFAS.

The experience was obviously a disappointing one but highlights the ongoing concerns of contamination in the supply chain that ultimately undoes the good intent and the preferred outcome.

Does this determine that we all go back to drinking with plastic straws?  Some might suggest that at least the drinks might taste like they should, but the reality is there are viable options and continued persistence to achieve a reduction in added PFAS across the entire raw materials list is the only sound outcome.

There are adhesives and wetting agents for manufacturing processes that contain low-level or no added PFAS – but they might cost a little more.  Where manufacturing continues to chase the lowest possible price and particularly for low-cost items (straws and food wrapping paper being good examples), the substitution game remains alive and well.  


To read the whole article, please click on the link below.

Paper Straws Are Actually Worse Than Plastic Ones, Scientists Say (

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