If you buy a hot coffee to go on your way to work, you may be drinking unwanted flame retardants and other chemicals. Many coffee lovers are turning to glass coffee cups because experts say there’s a lot more added into those coffee cups that you don’t expect.
Unfortunately, most of the cups which you buy your coffee in is not harmless. Environmental scientists say hot drinks with a certain fat content are particularly fond of dissolving in plastic and Styrofoam cups. Also, any ink that comes from a logo can also rub inside the paper cup when the cups are stacked inside the store.”Materials for food contact should not give off any substances that are likely to endanger human health under normal conditions of use,” say health experts.
Why Not Styrofoam?
Styrofoam is still used in many coffee shops because it’s cost-effective and well insulated, but there are plenty of reasons why you should switch cups.
1. Not biodegradable. A Styrofoam cup can outlast most products for hundreds of years. Only “clean” styrofoam can be recycled. Contaminated beverage cups and take-away containers are excluded from recycling.
2. Harmful ingredient. Styrene, the building block of polystyrene beads, is suspected of being carcinogenic in humans and is also a proven neurotoxin. Styrene is released on exposure to heat or in contact with fatty, acidic or alcoholic foods and is released into the contents of the Styrofoam cups and containers. Consequently, styrene can be absorbed by your body, so health wise, you should stay away from it.
3. Enrichment of toxic substances along the food chain. Especially in the sea, the reservoir of all waste, the negative consequences of discarded Styrofoam are obvious. On the one hand, eating styrofoam may cause starvation or suffocation in marine life. On the other hand, they absorb the toxic substances into their tissues. Particularly hazardous to aquatic organisms are classified as the flame retardant HBCD, with which polystyrene is sometimes treated. Along the food chain, these potentially dangerous substances accumulate and end up in consumer foods.
4. Production from petroleum. Styrofoam is made from polystyrene beads, which in turn are produced based on petroleum. Although styrofoam consists of 98 percent air and only 2 percent polystyrene beads, even this small proportion is crucial for the poor environmental performance.
5. Dangerous production conditions. In the Styrofoam factories, the workers come into contact with other dangerous substances such as acetone, toluene, and xylene. The consequences are accumulating reports of unwanted side effects such as slower reaction time, hearing problems, concentration problems and a decrease in the number and quality of sperm among factory workers.
At first glance, it may appear that styrofoam cups and containers are a cost-effective product that offers several advantages, but overall, its production leaves devastating consequences, better use coffee mugs NZ.