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13 July 2011

Avoid polystyrene containers

Polystyrene foam food and drink containers are possibly carcinogenic, and don't decompose easily. Rather use glass, ceramic, tin or paper.

The chemical styrene, found in polystyrene foam cups and take-away containers, has been added to the list of possible human carcinogens. That means we don’t know for sure if it contributes to cancer risk, but it’s a suspect and avoiding it when possible is a reasonable precaution.

  • Choose ceramic and glass for food and beverage containers.
  • For small children, tin cups and plates are also an option.
  • For parties and large catering events, paper cups and plates are a better choice than foam.
  • Containers made from harder plastics are acceptable, but as a general cautionary health rule, avoid using them for hot foods and drinks.

Styrene is also found in insulation, fiberglass, plastic pipes, automobile parts, carpet backing – and cigarette smoke. Exposure to styrene from smoking is an estimated 10 times that from all other sources.

 
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