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Fatal Accident With Metal Straw Highlights a Risk

The disturbing death of a woman in Britain renewed a debate that has followed bans on plastic straws around the world. From a report: A British woman was impaled by a metal straw after falling at her home, a coroner said in an inquest this week that highlighted the potential dangers of metal straws. Such straws have surged in popularity as cities, states and even countries have banned single-use plastic straws. A British straw ban will go into effect in April, but the worldwide environmental push against single-use straws has encountered opposition from some caregivers and advocates for people with disabilities. They have voiced worries about the safety of rigid straws and the overall availability of straws for people who are unable to drink without them. […] Many people with disabilities rely on straws to drink, Ms. Sauder said, but could have difficulties finding them in states and cities, such as California and Seattle, that have banned or restricted single-use straws.

Starbucks plans to eliminate its ubiquitous green plastic straws at 28,000 of its locations around the world in 2020. It’s not easy being green for Starbucks, however. In 2016, the coffee chain recalled stainless steel straws sold at its shops because they posed an injury risk. At the time, Starbucks said it had received reports of three children in the United States and one in Canada who had been lacerated by the straws, which were sold with reusable beverage containers. Dentists say that improper use of metal or glass straws can also be bad for teeth. “Clearly, chewing on a metal or glass straw can be hazardous to your teeth and your health,” said Dr. Timothy Chase of SmilesNY Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in New York. “Just like we tell people not to chew on pens.” Dr. Chase added that it’s important to keep reusable straws clean to avoid infection-causing bacteria.

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