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Should you skip sipping from a straw?

iced tea with a straw

By Jessica Chia for

PreventionPlastic has been ostracized lately because of the endocrine-disrupting potential of Bisphenol-A, sparking an entire industry of BPA-free containers.

But the recent launch of a line of BPA-free coffee straws begs the question: do you really need to worry about stirring and sipping your coffee from those cute mini straws they offer at coffee shops? Sure, you could just ditch the little tube altogether and call it a day, but then you’d be at the mercy of the teeth-staining effects straw-devotees are so careful to avoid. Not to worry—with our expert tips, you can have your coffee and drink it, too.

What the doc says: Not all straws contain BPA, but it’s impossible to tell because straws aren’t stamped with a recycling code, says Karin B. Michels, ScD, PhD, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School’s School of Public Health. Those with the number 7 carry BPA. But you can make an educated guess: “The harder and more durable the plastic straw is, the more likely it is that it has BPA,” she explains. Thin, soft plastic, on the other hand, is always BPA-free.

Keep reading for more expert advice…

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