Straws Aren’t Just Harming The Environment But Also Your Health

Lately, it’s been an ongoing struggle for companies to reduce the use of plastic in order to reduce the damage our environment is dealing with. Fast food chains and almost every restaurant, their first step is to come up with straw alternatives (others even remove the use of straws entirely), especially for take-out orders. Now, there’s an emerging study that plastic straws aren’t just harming the environment, but also your health.

Bloating & Gas

It is said that sipping from a straw makes you swallow more air into the digestive tract. It can cause discomfort to your digestive tracts such as gas and the feeling of being bloated, which usually happens when you drink carbonated beverages or chewing gum.

There was one time that I kept experiencing tummy aches that I couldn’t figure out how or why I was getting it. I’m a healthy eater and there’s no way that it was because of my food intake. Then, I realized that I was drinking my daily dose of healthy smoothies using a straw. It was then that my friend told me that it might be because of bloating and gas. So, I ditched the straws and promised to stick to my usual glass instead. My tummy aches were gone almost instantly.

Straws Aren't Just Harming The Environment But Also Your Health


You’re probably like, “How?!” but drinking sugary or acidic beverages through a straw sends a concentrated stream of liquid towards a small area of the teeth that can result to enamel erosion and can cause tooth decay in the long run. It is recommended that if you have no choice but to drink from a straw, you might want to position the straw behind the teeth and at the back of the throat. However, just by thinking of it, it’s uncomfortable for most people– especially me.

Bottomline, just ditch the straws and help save the environment! In return, you’ll have a beautiful cavity-free smile and a cleaner environment.

Straws Aren't Just Harming The Environment But Also Your Health


Most plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a type of plastic that is commonly made with petroleum. Polypropylene is considered to be food-safe in amounts approved by the FDA. However, there are studies that say that it is possible that the chemicals from polypropylene can leak into liquids and release certain compounds that affect estrogen levels especially when it is exposed to heat, UV light, and acidic beverages.

Whether the evidence is true or not, I would rather just skip using straws entirely so I highly recommend just drinking from the glass itself or using plastic straw alternatives such as bamboo, stainless steel, and glass straws.

Straws Aren't Just Harming The Environment But Also Your Health


For some, getting wrinkles is a dreadful thing especially if it’s a sign of premature aging. You may be just in your 20’s and you have wrinkles already because of an unhealthy lifestyle. The “pucker lines” that smokers have can also occur to people who drink in straws on a regular basis.

This anti-straw movement is a great step towards reducing waste, damage to our environment and our overall health. However, it’s pretty obvious that there’s still a lot of work to be done. But with continuous effort and constant support to these movements, something bigger and better will come of it.

These health issues may be far from serious as it may not be enough to make you stop using plastic straws in general, but think of our environment and the state that it’s in. Hopefully, it’s enough to help you decide to make the big switch.

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  • Tracy Hadley says:

    What a terrible idea. What about the extra CO2 from manufacturing stainless steel straws?? How many people are going to die from stainless steel straws that are not cleaned/dried properly?

    • What about the extra CO2 and landfill waste from manufacturing plastic straws? They aren’t designed to be reused like stainless steel straws so they contribute more waste in the long run. Why are people dying from dirty stainless steel straws? This seems highly unlikely. Moreover, how would a wet straw kill someone? If you’re talking about the possibility of mold growth, it would be prevented if people took the time to clean straws properly. (In fact, a lot of things in this world would be better if people took the time to do things properly…but that’s a rant for another day.) Also, it probably takes a lot of mold to kill someone. Do you know how many people are negatively impacted, directly or indirectly, by pollution caused by plastic production? Also, plastic is a finite resource — it comes from oil, which is a nonrenewable resource. I think that these are much larger issues than a few dirty stainless steel straws — which probably wouldn’t happen since the people that buy them are unlikely to be imbeciles who don’t know how to clean straws. There are even special brushes made for the purpose of cleaning straws!

  • Rachael Czapla says:

    I can’t quit using straw because how are we meant to have smoothies??

    • Use a spoon. Tilt the container towards your mouth, drink. Or, use a reusable and environmentally-friendly straw.

  • Jessy McCumber says:

    No, you don’t understand why we can’t use metal, glass, bamboo as they are not flexible or can injure. Paper don’t work either especially on hot drinks. And we would not be able to clean a straw especially when out.

    • You can clean glass straws — maybe not when you’re out — and I suspect that bamboo and stainless steel straws are similar. If you get the right kind, they’re practically indestructible too — my family has used glass straws for years. Why do you need straws when you’re out? So you don’t mess up your lipstick? They have lids designed to function similarly to straws and you could always just drink straight from the container.

  • Prudence Sams says:

    I love plastic straw and continue to use them.

    • Carlee Wrigley says:

      If these facts don’t make you think about skipping straws I don’t know what will.

    • That’s not very…prudent…of you. xD Sorry, couldn’t resist. You should maybe rethink this though…

  • Christiane Bezanson says:

    Thank you!! SO well written. I’m also on a personal pledge to encourage Americans to not use a plastic straw. I work part-time at a diner and have been personally buying paper straw to offer customer when they do want one. The feedback has been mostly welcoming. And I’m trying to encourage waitstaff and bartender friends to stop giving every customer a dang straw. Most customers do not want one. Again, thanks for taking on such an important issue.

  • Chelsey Ridgway says:

    I am now straw free as a part of an ongoing effort to reduce my trash. Thank you, Rebecca, for educating people.

  • Romy Pinkham says:

    We should probably stop using straws what even is the point of straws anyway. It’s not like it’s difficult to drink without them.

  • Jessica Drennen says:

    Actually, I don’t throw straws away after I and my family wash and reuse them we always reuse them now we have a lot of straws. If there were stainless and wood straws I would definitely use them

  • Andrea Maya says:

    It’s not using straws that’s the problem it’s how you dispose of it. Just like how guns aren’t the problem, it’s how people use it.

    • I agree with this statement somewhat (though I have my reservations), but the wording does not convey effectively what you’re trying to say — these two things aren’t terribly similar and the analogies don’t line up at all.

  • Michaela Kim says:

    I haven’t used straw in over a year and I don’t miss it.

  • Cristi Bond says:

    I have a packet of 250 straws in my kitchen WTF should I do??

  • Toni Diorio says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! Not only did you make an impact on those people’s life by introducing the straw free life but also hopefully so many other people who read this article are also inspired and will stop using straws.

  • Alberta Spigner says:

    Straws put unnecessary air into your stomach and can cause bloating (this is why before a endoscopy you’re not supposed to use a straw). So, to be skinnier and healthier, don’t use straws.

  • Myriam Eaves says:

    These articles just create unnecessary anxiety. Whatever you eat or drink it’s wrong. And how you eat and drink it is wrong. I no longer care what any of them say.

    • Tommy Haskins says:

      You are right!! The amount of warning we are being given here in this article is unbelievable. Take anything and you are told you have been or being stupid. Next day it is contradicted by another article.

  • Danielle Kennell says:

    500 million straws thrown away every day. This is part of the epidemic killing animals and the environment. Argh!!

  • Cheryl Curry says:

    Straws are so small and yet they contribute to such a large waste that’s polluting our seas and land. It just goes to show that no matter how small of a waste it is, it’s going to create a big impact to our environment.

  • Meredith Boyd says:

    It’s just annoying sometimes when restaurants don’t have alternative straws for take-outs. Like really, how do you expect me to slurp on my smoothie if you don’t give me a straw? Whether it’s paper or whatever type of straw, I’m good. But companies should provide alternatives because it’s not something that I can just drink from my cup without making a mess.

    • Miriam Love says:

      Lol I feel you. I was told once that they prohibit the use of straws already but never gave me anything to drink my float in. How do you expect me to drink this? With a spoon?

  • Helen Griffith says:

    You’re right, straws do have the tendency to concentrate carbonated drinks to our teeth. Maybe that’s why whenever I would drink soda out of a straw my teeth feels sensitive in some spots. If we can all just not use straws overall, it may be better. Unless of course on certain drinks that really need straws to consume.

  • Those bamboo straws look scary. It kinda looks like it’s going to stab me by the throat. Definitely not something that you should drink on while you’re in a moving vehicle or walking. I would honestly feel scared about using them when I’m around friends because they move a lot and I literally don’t want to be stabbed in the throat by a straw. But I honestly can’t think of any other alternatives for plastic straws better than bamboo or stainless.

  • I remember the reason why I’m drinking in plastic straws when I’m dining in restaurants is to avoid drinking directly from the glass. Others have been telling me that it might not be clean enough or have not been washed properly. When you think of it, if the glass itself is dirty, even a plastic straw won’t save you from it. ?

  • Celia Parsons says:

    Just recently, I saw on facebook that Starbucks will be going straw-free in 2020. I’m just not sure how they’re going to do it since their frappes need actual straws, so maybe paper straws or something? Hopefully they get creative with it. Like cups with built in ‘sippers’ or something.

    • Lillie Vaoughn says:

      Usually it’s the bigger brands that get creative about their approach and I’m looking forward to their innovations.

  • Janice Garcia says:

    Even if straw isn’t harming our health, I wouldn’t mind not using it anymore. I’ve seen the damage it’s causing our environment and it’s really sad and devastating. This isn’t the world that we were supposed to be stewards in.

  • Carole Gibbs says:

    Companies should find better ways to really reduce their waste. Even plastic spoons and forks should be eliminated. Maybe wooden sporks would be great alternatives. I’ve seen ads about edible sporks and they’re amazing. Biodegradable and incredibly environmental friendly.

  • Mae Little says:

    Straws shouldn’t be part of our daily lives compared to before. It should be eliminated as early as now.

  • Billie Scott says:

    I can even smell the horrible plastic smell of some straws so I’m not even surprised that chemicals get into our bodies.?

  • Rachael Patrick says:

    I hate how others even complain about having no straws available in restaurants. Yet, they advocate for a safer environment. Don’t demand what’s bad for the environment yet want a safer one. It’s a conflict of interest.

  • Margie Ross says:

    Seriously, straws are horrible. I’ve watched countless of documentaries from National Geographic about how these defenseless marine creatures’ lives are destroyed because of plastic waste.

  • I honestly wish that plastic was never invented. I’m sure there are better biodegradable alternatives.?

  • Elsie Thopson says:

    Great article. I hope it brings awareness to more people.

  • Josephine Murphy says:

    I think I’d prefer stainless straws than bamboo ones. Bamboo ones might get molds inside when it’s constantly soaked. Also, it will also have a weird taste once it’s constantly used with juices or sodas.

    • Bernadette Garza says:

      Bamboo straws should be disposed after a while. But I do agree that the stainless ones might be more durable and would last longer.

  • Kelly Obsborne says:

    Bloating and gas? Maybe that’s why my tummy has been making a fool out of me lately!!!

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