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It depends what you put in that container, but probably not.
Polystyrene (PS) is one of many plastic materials that can turn into a gas when it’s heated or exposed to certain chemicals.
There are several types of PS products, including those used for packing food and drink, trash bags, containers, and styrofoam coolers. But even PS versions can release dangerous substances under certain conditions.
For instance, proteins found in milk can break down into acids which can harm dry foam if it’s hot enough. To be safe, keep PS out of your car as it freezes over.
Same goes for drinks like coffee, tea, and soda. All contain ingredients that could react with PS to produce gases harmful to people.
Fortunately, there are alternatives. You can use glass or ceramic instead of styrofoam, for example. And don’t forget to let yourself up before melting begins so you can safely empty the ice cube tray.
Too early to tell
It is too early to determine if styrofoam will completely break down, or even what its long-term effects might be on human health.
However, there are some indications that it may not completely degrade, which means that it could create various types of environmental pollutants or toxic chemicals over time.
Currently, researchers around the world are working to develop new methods for separating styrofoam materials into easily burnable/disposeable fractions, thereby reducing the risk of environmental contamination.
These studies need money, so community labs have begun pop up where people can come together to help design experiments, collect data, and analyze results.
Although lab research is critical in helping us understand how different substances behave once placed in the environment, field research is important as well to fully understand your specific situation. By combining field observations with laboratory analysis, you can better predict the outcomes of your experiment or project.
With global warming taking hold, more people are wondering whether or not it has something to do with increased flooding.
Recent studies show that human activity is creating an indoor greenhouse effect by producing carbon dioxide (CO), which leads to water retention.
And as humans pump billions of gallons of CO² into cars and factories, they’re also pumping out carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide isn’t just bad for our air quality, it can actually kill us. And while we’re talking about increasing levels of toxins in our environment, remember that another one of these invisible gases is giving off radiation.
So if you live near airports or other areas where aircraft take-off and land, make sure you know what those numbers mean and check your local radar monitor. Radiation is a concern for residents living near nuclear power plants, too.
These concerns need to be taken seriously, especially when combined with facts like the amount of rainfall increasing along with the amounts of drought occurring every year due to climate change.
Many cities have begun to address these issues by installing rainwater harvesting systems. This helps reduce pollution by collecting used water and allowing it to evaporate naturally.
It also protects against drought by preparing citizens for wetter years and drying them out in dry years.
Additional studies needed
Although it has not been fully tested, scientists believe that styrofoam might produce certain chemicals when it is heated.
These chemicals have not yet been identified, but if they are heat-sensitive, then heating styrofoam to high temperatures could cause them to break down.
Some of these chemicals may form gases or dust particles during cooking at very low levels (i.e., below those found in workplace kitchens). However, since we do not know what these substances are, nor how people respond to exposure to them, there are no rules about what level constitutes “safe” exposure.
That said, research suggests that very small amounts of some common ingredients in food can sometimes build up in your body over time. For example, even modest consumption of milk can increase the amount of dioxin in your blood, though scientific evidence does not confirm that drinking milk directly contributes to an increased risk of disease!
It is also possible that cooking oils containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), along with foods stored in plastic containers with PCBs, might release hazardous compounds into the air. However, since most recipes require little more than stirring once the dish goes hot, this seems like an unlikely concern.
Finally, while science supports the notion that styrenic acids–byproducts of styrofoam combustion possibly ingested through breathing–may create cancer risks, extensive life-long feeding trials show only weak associations between
It isn’t necessarily safe to use
Until the 1960s, most food containers were ceramic or glass. Then, polystyrene foam started becoming popular as an inexpensive container material.
However, scientists have been studying how people interact with this new material. They’ve noticed that when plastics melt, they can produce certain chemicals called phthalates. These are found in plastic products including cosmetics, vinyl toys, and even some foods (mostly canned foods).
When animals (including humans) eat these things, they can pass excess levels of phthalates through their digestive systems. Once in the body, they can be stored in several different places.
Some phthalate additives give plastic its softness, so it is very flexible. However, there are only a few types of plastic which work well for packaging food.
Recently, researchers have begun to question whether or not exposure to phthalates is connected to negative health effects. Some studies suggest that phthalates may interfere with hormones important in male and female development as well as functioning of the brain and liver.
Because of this, along with the growing number of serious injuries related to toy recycling, experts recommend that you keep away from plastic if possible. There are many resources available for those who want to learn more about going green.
You can also try replacing the plastic with bamboo, copper, stone, cast iron, and other materials instead.
Companies are saying that it is safe
You have probably seen or used styrofoam products before.
It may be in your kitchen, at the grocery store, or at restaurants. Many of us use it routinely.
Styrofoam is a common product used by many companies to package food. Since styrofoam is widely available and works well as packaging, most of the foods we buy have come packed in styrofoam.
A growing number of citizens believe that styrofoam is not safe for humans. They claim that styrofoam contains toxic chemicals that can break down into smaller pieces that people might consume.
Furthermore, they say that styrofoam makes regular cleaning methods obsolete. It also absorbs thermal energy very poorly.
These qualities make it hard to remove non-metallic particles from water.”Non-metals” are elements or compounds that do not vaporize when heated. Therefore, things such as dirt, oil, and salt don’t burn away with steam.
Finally, some residents fear that harmful chemicals present in the plastic could leak out if the container were to crack or fracture.
You may still get sick from styrofoam
Although scientists have not found any harmful effects from handling foam, so it is still recommended to use biodegradable substitutes.
However, all of these new foams are still made out of petroleum-based materials. As such, they may also leach chemicals into your body that can be as toxic as their nonbiodegradable counterparts.
Due to its porous nature, styrofoam is very good at adsorbing liquids and gases. For this reason, tests show that it may even be more absorbent than plastic.
But what happens if you put something in the foam cup and then heat it? According to a test by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the styrene in foam might release into food or drinks heated within six inches of the foam surface. The FCC says it set up a study to look at the potential health risks associated with eating foods cooked in foam containers.
The studies showed no significant risk for healthy people who consumed a typical diet over a period of 20 years. But because styrene is a known carcinogen, the safety limit established by the Food Safety Standard promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA is currently 2 parts per million (ppm) in prepared foods.