THE SAFETY OF MICROWAVE STYROFOAM
Microwaves are electronic gadgets that have been utilized for many decades in the kitchen, especially on heating food. Styrofoam is a variety of polystyrene often utilized in constructions.
Over the years, people have used microwaves specifically for heating food. Because of health issues, individuals know the best containers to use in microwaving beverages and food. Not all containers are suitable for heating foods in the microwave. Folks have misinterpreted the term Styrofoam, especially when discussing expanded polystyrene used in manufacturing disposable cups and plates. Recently, some cities and states have prohibited the utilization of polystyrene. Others reject using single polystyrene containers because of potential health and environmental issues. However, these containers are cheap and ideal for keeping drinks and food warm. Thus, this article will discuss the safety of microwave Styrofoam.
Definition of Styrofoam
Styrofoam is a polystyrene foam type often utilized in building industries. Nonetheless, in certain countries like Canada and United States, this term is misinterpreted in defining the injected polystyrene foam into molds for manufacturing packaging peanuts, coffee cups, and plates. These products are cheap because they are excellent insulators and keep beverages and foods warm for some time. Even though these containers were in demand previously, some cities in US like Seattle and San Francisco have illegalized them because of possible health and environmental safety. In this regard, they cannot be recycled and hardly decompose hence polluting the environment. Further, some studies show that these containers have a styrene compound, which people worry about regarding health because it is associated with cancers.
Types of Styrofoam containers
There exist some distinct Styrofoam containers varieties, which include:
The Styrofoam toxicity
From the definition, it is established that Styrofoam is manufactured from polystyrene. This specific material is composed of styrene and benzene molecules. Studies show that these molecules are extremely toxic. They contain carcinogenic and neurotoxic chemicals that are harmful to human health. What happens when you heat polystyrene? Some studies have established that this material starts decomposing at approximately 2000 C. Then, after the temperature rises to 224 degrees, the polystyrene continues to decompose further. Consequently, high amounts of toxic compounds get into your beverage or food when this temperature is reached. Thus, heating edible substances at such temperatures are the wrong idea. This is because you may consume many harmful substances that threaten your life. Very high temperatures in the microwave melt polystyrene, which produces scary results. Notably, the constituents of polystyrene are not only styrene and benzene, but other sare added into it to increase affordability and quality. Therefore, avoid heating or cooking foods or drinks in microwaves using Styrofoam materials to prevent you from consuming harmful substances.
The Styrofoam dangers
Is Styrofoam flammable? Scientists show that polystyrene is flammable. Since Styrofoam is manufactured from polystyrene, it must be flammable. In some cases, certain chemicals are added to harden it and become heat resistant. Although the company has attempted to upgrade the containers, you should not expose them to heat. Actually, they are thin and unfit for cooking because they might catch fire in some instances. Styrofoam consumption may show physical symptoms, including fatigue, depression, eye and stomach irritation, headaches, hearing loss, and central nervous system breakdown. Additionally, certain research has shown that styrene might cause cancer. Surprisingly, styrene is categorized among the carcinogen compounds. Therefore, you should might its consumption at every instance. Notably, some of these claims are supported by weak evidence, but you should prioritize your health, especially what you eat.
Advantages of microwaving Styrofoam
There exist certain advantages of microwaving Styrofoam. More importantly, Styrofoam is simple and quite affordable, and therefore you dispose of it to avoid washing dishes. These advantages are few and weak, however, you should make a wise decision. The container should be checked when determining whether the Styrofoam microwaving is safe. In case the manufacturer indicates the container is unsafe for microwaves, you should avoid using it when heating substances. However, some containers have microwave symbols on them, implying they are safe for microwaving. Sometimes, these containers vary depending on the manufacturers.
Should you microwave Styrofoam?
Currently, there is insufficient evidence backing the idea of Styrofoam microwaving. As such, you should not attempt it. Furthermore, Styrofoam microwaving is unnecessary because there are other options instead of risking your health. Body health is vital when making decisions, especially those that would affect your life. Some better alternatives include ceramic plates, Pyrex or glass containers, or the pan for cooking food. Care should be taken upon things put inside the microwave. Notably, doctors do not recommend microwaving plastics, especially Styrofoam, which contains harmful substances.
Ways of heating food safely
In case there are concerns about heating food using a Styrofoam container, the following tips can guide you on performing it:
- Put the food into glass or ceramic before microwaving- you can put the food into a pyrex, glass, or ceramic container before microwaving.
- Check for cracks and scratches-Some old plastic or polystyrene containers with cracks or scratches should be eliminated because they might leak harmful substances.
- Use an oven or stove- Alternatively, transferring food into a pan or pot when heating it into an oven or stove lowers the potential risks.
Many people have used Styrofoam in different ways for decades. Also, microwaves are common electronic gadgets being used globally. Some concerns about materials suitable for microwaving have been raised. Some studies have shown different results regarding this issue. You should shun Styrofoam microwaves with no microwave-safe symbols because their safety is not guaranteed. Styrofoam is manufactured with polystyrene. This specific material has a styrene molecule, which is associated with cancer. Nonetheless, the containers already approved to be microwave-safe should be allowed in this application. Furthermore, in case there are concerns, relocate the food into the glass, Pyrex, or ceramic container before heating because they are microwave-safe materials.