Disney World Changes Rules Yet Keeps Toxic Chemicals on Menu

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

Two Guests at Disney World drinking wine in the France Pavilion at EPCOT during the international food & wine festival.

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney constantly changes rules, recently re-regulating paper straws and plastic lid access at Walt Disney World. However, recent news shows that these same paper straws have “forever chemicals” in their “toxic” straws.

Guests drinking and eating at the Rose and Crown at World Showcase's United Kingdom Pavilion
Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World Making Eco-Friendly Changes

Millions of guests visit Walt Disney World each year, and many (if not most) use straws and lids for their drinks. Disney began to eliminate the waste of plastic caps and straws in an effort towards sustainability. The goal is to promote environmental protection in the United States and beyond.

It started with four theme parks, two water parks, and the Disney Springs shopping zone. The rule change means plastic lids and paper straws are only available upon request. The mic dropped just weeks after Walt Disney World rolled out these tweaks. Paper straws are “toxic” and contain “forever chemicals.”

Friends eating at ICON Park Orlando
Credit: ICON Park Orlando

Studies Reveal Toxic Substances at Disney World Resort

Though the theme park giant is recognized for its efforts to help the environment, anyone who’s been to Walt Disney World Resort knows there are some inherent risks. It’s true of anywhere from Downtown Disney to Animal Kingdom to Space Mountain. Yet there are some risks to be expected (loud noises, bright lights, etc.). Others are more pernicious.

Fans who visit Cinderella Castle along Main Street, U.S.A., meet with Mickey Mouse, or hit up Typhoon Lagoon are likely to, at some point, get thirsty. The good thing is there are endless kiosks and restaurants to get the whole Disney experience. According to a new study, the straws the Walt Disney Company issues are a den of “forever chemicals.”

Boy eating funnel cake
Credit: Disney

Toxic Chemicals for Humans and the Environment

Disneyland Resort appears to be trying to support the environment with things like Animal Kingdom and its wildlife protection. The change at Walt Disney World meant fewer straws and, theoretically, less waste. It doesn’t, however, account for the poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, known better as PFAS.

Yet studies have proven that of 20 tested brands of paper straws, 18 contained PFAS. Conversely, plastic and glass straws don’t carry the same risk. The critical concern is the perfluorooctanoic acid found in the toxic straws.

That particular chemical (PFOA) has been prohibited internationally since 2020.

A couple has drinks at the pool of Dockside Inn and Suites
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Implications for Walt Disney World Guests

In one camp, primarily using Belgian studies, there is the thought that if you only use straws occasionally, for dining or as a guest at an attraction, the human risk is minimal. On the other side of the fence is the note that these toxic straws hold forever chemicals. Ongoing use can risk:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Decreased vaccine effectiveness
  • Liver damage
  • Lower birth weight
  • High cholesterol
  • Cancers of kidneys and testicles

Dr. Gtroffen of the University of Antwerp advised consumers to “avoid using straws at all.”

What do you think about this future world where Disney magic comes with a risk of disease? Share your take in the comments below!

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