To Bamboo or Not to Bamboo…

Lions and tigers and bamboo cups… oh my!!

I, like many others of you, am all for sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment. Hell, if we don’t act soon, there might not be much of a civilisation left for future generations. I love a morning coffee, no i need a morning coffee to function, and all those fast food cups where beginning to ad up. Which is why i jumped aboard the bamboo hype train. I love my bamboo cup, from the way it feels to the squishy rubber lid, and it loves me and the environment too right? So i thought. It turns out that we all might have been duped by good marketing.

After hearing that these mugs might have been built on a bed of lies and subterfuge, i decided to do a little digging. Well it turn out that they contain a plastic like resin, called Melamine, which along with not being bio-degradable, may actually be poisonous if used with hot drinks. Absolute madness that they can market these as re-usable coffee cups, when they are leaching harmful chemicals when hot!!.

The Issue

Recent research by a German consumer group called Stiftung Warentest, shown in this article, shows the concentration of melamine that migrates into drinks from these well marketed little bamboo-based, re-usable cups, is very high.

The research shows that consumers who purchased re-usable bamboo mugs, thought that they where buying a 100% natural, bio-degradable, product. When infarct all the mugs they tested where bamboo powder or fibres bound in a melamine plastic resin, which also contains formaldehyde. Both of these chemicals are known to be dangerous to humans.

The results showed that 7 of the 12 mugs tested where releasing high quantities of melamine and more where releasing quantities of formaldehyde into the drinks. Even more worrying, was that the amount of chemicals seemed to increase with usage.

“But FatNinja, there are chemicals in everything.”

You are correct young Johnny, but lets take a closer look at the adverse effects of these bad boys:

Melamine – This white crystal like substance, when ingested can cause crystals to form in your kidneys and could possibly result in renal failure. In China, 2008, the chemical was added to babies milk formula. Resulting in over 300,000 babies becoming sick, while 6 died or renal failure. So not the type of chemical you want to be sprinkling on your cornflakes.

Formaldehyde – If ingested this nasty chemical can cause corrosive burns to your insides, bleeding, low blood pressure, hemolysis (loss of blood cells), unusual  heart rhythm, irregular breathing, restlessness, unconsciousness, coma and death. It has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen.” by many organisations, with Leukaemia being the likely cancer caused by exposure.

So the bottom line is that these cups are a lie, they are not biodegradable, you can’t even dispose of them in the recycling bin, and even worse is that they may be harmful to your health over time. You may want to look at other options top help save the world, i for one will no longer be using my Bamboo cup.


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