It's Time to Ditch Your Plastic Straws for the Sake of Your Health and the Environment ...

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COMMENT

Don’t you find it amazing that things you use and take for granted every day have the power to create such havoc? You might not know it but that straw you sip your mocha frappuccino® through contributes to the huge plastic issue in our environment. Many end up in the ocean end up in the ocean as fish food. I’m sure you know that dolphins and octopi can’t use straws, so we aren’t doing them any favors.

I recently shared with you some facts about the damage we are doing to our magical oceans with our plastic This has really struck a chord in the UK and the country has already banned microbeads, plastic cotton buds, and is now moving onto single-use plastic items such as straws and stirrers. This latest ban comes into law later in 2018 but The Queen has already banned straws from cafes and staff dining rooms in Buckingham Palace. We already have to pay for our plastic carrier bags (like much of the Western World) and the Glastonbury Festival has banned plastic bottles from 2019.

Some North American cities have banned single use plastic straws too – Montreal, Vancouver, and Seattle, but it isn’t just the marine environment that is affected. It turns out that they might not be so great for humans either. It’s so easy to ignore theories such as “straws are hurtful to human health” because you can never be sure if it’s just a way to raise awareness of a related issue (i.e. marine conservation) or whether there is a genuine risk. The best thing is always to listen to the theory and its evidence and decide if it affects you.

I am referring to an article published in the Washington Post by registered dietician and nutrition writer, Christy Brissette. In it, she stated that the impacts of drinking through straws on your health are:

- Gas and bloating caused by the increase of air entering your stomach through the straw

- Increased risk of cavities because straws direct sugary and acidic drinks to certain teeth

- Increased risk of wrinkles and fine lines around the mouth due to the puckering action of sucking a straw

- Straws made from polypropylene have been connected to affecting estrogen levels.

Just a bit more on this last point. According to naturopathic doctor Jolene Brighten, who founded Rubus Health, it is a common misconception that there is less effect on estrogen by BPA-free plastics. All plastics leach endocrine disruptors. It is best to avoid food that comes into contact with plastic.

The latter idea does seem somewhat unrealistic and difficult to achieve given the amount of plastic food packaging but, when you know that by the year 2050, without further action to combat our use, the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans will outweight the fish, it’s definitely something to think about.

Now you know this, will you give up drinking from straws and avoid other single-use plastics?

Addendum

Exciting news for ladies who care about the environment!

Today, July 10th, 2018, Starbucks has announced they will remove all plastic straws from their stores by 2020. They estimate this will mean more then 1 billion stores removed from circulation. Yay!