The study published in the scientific journal Food additives and contaminantsIt is the first of its kind in Europe and only the second of its kind worldwide.
It was the reason for conducting the study That American scientists in 2021 The so-called Forever Chemicals, also called PFAS, were discovered in vegetable straws in the United States.
This has led a group of researchers at the University of Antwerp to ask if this also applies to Belgium.
So, they bought straws from 39 different brands, made from five different materials: paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel and plastic.
Researchers in Belgium bought straws from various stores, supermarkets and fast food restaurants and checked whether they contained 29 different PFAS substances in two batches.
Study analyzes showed that up to 69% of brands purchased contain PFAS and that paper straws most often contain chemicals.
The researchers were able to prove the chemicals are highly biodegradable at 90 percent. From the brands tested – albeit in very different concentrations.
Only one straw passed the test
One of the PFAS substances that researchers have detected most often in straw is also one of the most well-studied – perfluorooctanoic acid – the production and use of which has been banned since 2020. The researchers also found traces of trifluoroacetic acid and trifluoromethanesulfonic acid. .
Bamboo straws performed only slightly better than paper straws in testing—which researchers found PFAS in 80 percent of the brands examined. In plastic straws, the researchers found the chemicals in 75% of the brands tested and in 40% of the glass brands.
In the steel suction tubes tested, the researchers found no PFAS.
The researchers suggest that PFAS concentrations were low and that they probably pose a limited risk to our health because few people use them in daily life.
However, they also show that substances that are difficult to degrade can remain in the body for many years, and thus their concentration can build up over time.
“Although small amounts of PFAS are not harmful to the body by themselves, they can increase the chemical load already present in the body,” explains Dr. Themo Groven, who was part of the group that conducted the study In a press release.
Researchers don’t know if PFAS was added to products in production itself or if it was the result of contamination, for example, from the soil in which the materials were grown or the water used to produce them.
Another limitation of the study is that the researchers don’t yet know if the perpetual chemicals are leaching into the liquid from the tubes.
Researchers do not know if PFAS was added to the products during the production itself or if it was the result of contamination, for example, from the soil in which the materials were grown or the water needed to produce them.
Another part of the study’s limitations is that the researchers don’t yet know if immortalizing chemicals leach into the liquid in the straw.
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