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Are Paper Cups as Toxic as Plastic? Study Reveals Surprising Results


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A Potential Health Risk: Paper Cups May be as Toxic as Plastic Cups

A recent study has revealed that paper cups, often perceived as environmentally friendly, may contain toxic substances just like their plastic counterparts.

The Plastic Coating on Paper Cups

Researchers in Sweden have made an alarming discovery that a thin layer of plastic is applied to the surface of disposable paper cups. This plastic coating prevents leakage onto the paper but releases toxic substances.

Similar Findings with Paper Straws

These findings come shortly after Belgian researchers reported high concentrations of toxic synthetic chemicals in paper straws.

Transparency in the Plastics Industry

Swedish scientists are now advocating for transparency requirements in the plastics industry. They believe that clear reporting of the chemicals contained in all products, similar to the pharmaceutical industry, should be mandatory.

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The Science Behind the Plastic Coating

Manufacturers treat paper used in food packaging with a durable plastic surface layer called polylactide (PLA). PLA is a renewable and biodegradable bioplastic.

Harmful Effects on Fly Larvae

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted experiments and discovered that the chemicals in the plastic coating can harm fly larvae. They observed negative effects on the larvae’s development after exposing them to both paper and plastic cups submerged in wet sediment and water for several weeks.

Potential Health Risks

The study found that these chemicals can cause endocrine disruption, which can impact sexual reproduction, growth, and other bodily functions. Professor Bethany Carne Almroth, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Gothenburg, emphasized that paper packaging with plastic content poses a potential health risk and has become increasingly prevalent.


This study highlights the need for greater awareness and scrutiny of the materials used in food packaging. It also underscores the importance of transparency in the plastics industry to ensure the safety and well-being of consumers.

Source: Daily Mail

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