Can You Get Cancer From Microwaving Styrofoam? – Hunting Waterfalls

I was heating up a styrofoam noodle cup the other day and I got a sting worry about styrofoam in the microwave and if it could be leaching chemicals into my food. I know there have been studies done into some types of plastic and we know immediately that BPA is an endocrine-disruptor and can cause health problems in humans including cancer. But what about styrofoam ? Can you get cancer from microwaving styrofoam? Does styrofoam contain any known carcinogens and can it leach chemicals into our food ? I did some research and looked into the scientific papers and what I discovered was alarming !

Microwaving food or drinks in styrofoam DOES likely increase your chances of getting cancer. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Science showed that styrofoam leached the chemical styrene into drinks. Styrene is a probable carcinogen and likely to cause cancer. honestly, this newsworthiness was pretty shocking to me. I ‘ve often cooked noodles in styrofoam and I know around the world people use styrofoam for everything from take out containers to coffee cups. In this article we ‘ll look at what research has been done into styrofoam, what negative health outcomes it may cause ( including cancer ) deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as some of the drastic measures some cities are now taking to completely remove styrofoam .

Styrofoam Contains The Toxic Cancer-Causing Styrene

What we call styrofoam is either extrude polystyrene or expanded polystyrene ( learn more here ) .Image from MadeHow Polystyrene is made from styrene which is polymerized or chained together to create polystyrene beads. Polystyrene is different from styrene in it ‘s nature and overall probably not as dangerous or toxic as styrene itself it has been proven that remainder styrene remains in styrofoam cups, bowl, plates and early containers .

Why Is Styrene So Bad?

Styrene is so bad because it has a variety of negative health outcomes, including an increased chance of getting some types of cancer. It ‘s not yet listed as a definite homo carcinogen, but it is listed as a probable human carcinogen, with a crowd of studies supporting this. This article and inspection by ScienceDaily states some interesting facts about styrene :

  • “the most recent styrene study shows the risk of acute myeloid leukaemia, a rare form of leukemia, is doubled”
  • “Another important research result is a fivefold risk for a particular type of nasal cancer following styrene exposure.”

This article from the National Library of Medicine besides states : ‘ Studies in the reinforced-plastics industry provided evidence that suggests a possible association between styrene exposure and cancer of the esophagus or pancreas. ’ … Hence, based on both animal and human cancer studies and genotoxic findings including clastogenicity and DNA damage in workers a well as on other supportive and biologically plausible mechanistic results, styrene and styrene-7,8-oxide should be considered as presenting carcinogenic risks to humans, particularly for lymphatic/hematopoietic cancers.

Polystyrene Containers Leach Styrene Into Food

Styrene is to be avoided and polystyrene has recently been shown to leach the toxic chemical into our food and drinks. This checkup sketch published in the Journal of Environmental Science looked to see whether or not polystyrene cups and water bottles leached harmful chemicals into water. They besides looked into whether or not heat played a function in this leach.

They discovered that polystyrene can in fact leach the harmful chemicals styrene, ethyl benzene, toluene and benzene into water and that the higher the heat the more leaching occurred. You can read the paper for wax details but below is a table showing how much styrene was leached from styrofoam cups at different temperatures. The higher the temperature the more bleed occurred !

Temperature (ºC) Styrene (µg/L)
Ambient 0.00
50 0.00
70 1.16
90 9.35
100 17.37

As you can see the hot you go the more leach that occurred. This was besides true for all other chemicals looked at in this study. When you microwave styrofoam the food inside can reach temperatures above 70-100ºC (158-212ºF) which is where most leaching occurs. The styrofoam itself can also reach high temperatures due to the energy from the microwave oven. This report concluded that : Considering the toxic characteristic of styrene and leach in water and other products, polystyrene ( PS ) material should be avoided for food promotion. Especially PS rigid and foam cups should not be used for hot drinks. Paper cups are safe for blistering drinks and have no threat as from PS cups. It is besides recommend that public awareness plan shall be launched to avoid Styrofoam cups for hot drinks. This quantitative analysis besides proves the presence of the harmful chemical styrene in polystyrene products ampere well as the leach of styrene into drinks. In summary: You should NEVER microwave food or drinks inside styrofoam as it can leach harmful toxic chemicals that are likely to be carcinogenic increasing you chances of getting cancer.

Major Cities Like New York Now Banning Styrofoam

Cities and states around the universe are immediately starting to place sum bans on styrofoam cups, containers and box. According to CNN on 1st January 2019 New York city banned the function of boom polystyrene ( styrofoam ) one use food containers ampere well as the packaging material known as “ pack peanuts ”. “ Styrofoam is one of the most common pollutants and a public health hazard that impacts humans and the environment alike, ” Governor Cuomo said in this government press liberation. And other cities and states are following suit. Cities like Miami Beach, San Diego, Seattle and Washington DC have all banned styrofoam and the integral state of matter of Maine is banning styrofoam beginning in 2021.

While the main reason for these bans are environmental ( styrofoam is n’t worth recycling and does n’t break down ) it ‘s still in truth dear to see this toxic harmful kernel being removed from our lives .