Everybody’s Suddenly Banning Plastic Straws to Help the Environment, but How Do They Actually Affect Our Health?

Pic of plastic straws on beach.Wochit Media

Companies and towns all over the world have committed to reducing their use of plastics in an effort to be more environmentally conscious. With their eyes on what can’t be recycled, one of the things that’s gotten the most attention is plastic straws.

Straws, along with other single use items like stirrers or disposable utensils, are being banned from cities, businesses, and in some cases, entire nations like the United Kingdom. Starbucks, Disney, American Airlines and other brands are phasing plastic straws out and replacing them with substitutes.

As most of us sit back and applaud their moves towards helping the planet, we think about how much harm is being done to wildlife and our oceans. But what about the dangers of plastic straws to our own health?

Based on an article published by The Washington Post, this video highlights the ways that straws can cause health issues.

  1. Dental Damage

    If you’re downing your favorite sweet or acidic drink with a straw, you could be giving your teeth a straight shot of decay. Nutritionist and registered dietician Christy Brisette points out that depending on how it’s positioned, a straw will concentrate the liquid to sections of your mouth, increasing your risk of enamel wear and cavities.

  2. Gassiness and Bloating

    If you’re experiencing weird bouts of bloat or gas on a regular basis, your straw could be the reason. When you drink through a straw, you’re breathing air into your tummy, which causes burping, flatulence, and bloating.

    Sipping sodas and other carbonated drinks contribute to excess air being swallowed, and when air can’t escape through belching or other means, it turns to bloat. To cut down on the gas, cut out your straw!

Hit go on the vid below to hear other reasons why we should ditch plastic straws. While those who are banning them are using substitutes, they are also letting people know that in some cases, the straws will still be on hand.

Why? Disabled and physically challenged individuals need flexible straws where alternatives are not a workable option. Paper ones often crumble too easily or can’t withstand bite pressure from those with oral issues. Metal straws can be clumsy or painful to handle, and silicone straws are not always the most flexible.

Factor in the added step of trying to clean a reusable straw and it could be an impossible – or extremely difficult – scenario for some.

As the public becomes more aware and conscious of becoming a greener society, perhaps it will open the door to more innovation in business. Creating drinking and eating apparatuses that are easy for everyone to use and easy on the environment can be a win-win for all.

If you can, join the “StopSucking” movement for its environmental angle and for your own health. Even the little things can make a difference.

Did you know that plastic straws could be impacting your physical health? What are your thoughts on the no straw movement overall? Are you someone who needs to use them in your daily life?