Are straws bad for consumer health, not just the environment?

Our readers are likely aware of the recent controversy about plastic straws. They are bad for the environment (go, for instance, here and here). Seattle recently banned their use (along with the use of plastic utensils) at bars and restaurants. As one advocacy group puts it:

Plastic straws are really bad for the ocean. We use over 500 million every day in America, and most of those end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life. We want to encourage people to stop using plastic straws for good. If we don’t act now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

But does use of straws also harm our health? This piece in the Washington Post by Christy Brissette says yes. Brissette maintains that the potential adverse health effects range from gas and bloating to ingestion of toxic chemicals.

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