Styrofoam Food Packaging: Is It Cause Health Problem? | b l o g o d r i l

08 September 2009

Styrofoam Food Packaging: Is It Cause Health Problem?

"All Styrofoam products in the market are safe to use," said Husniah Rubiana Thamrin Akib, Head of the National Drug and Food Control of Indonesia (NDFC), during a food packaging press conference at the NDFC Office Jakarta, Tuesday (14/7).

The Styrene Test

In recently NDFC Indonesia has conducted sampling and testing of 17 types of 'Styrofoam' food packaging [1]. Five out of Styrofoam packages did not contain residual styrene, and 12 Styrofoam packages could be issued because it contains about 43 ppm of the styrene residue.

"According to WHO, styrene monomer did not cause health problems if the residue does not exceed 5000 ppm. In the animal experiments, if more than 5000 ppm leads to cancer," she said, “Test results showed that all packaging is eligible or below the limit!”

It means that the test did not result in a residual styrene significantly.

So far, no single country in the world prohibits the Styrofoam uses consider on the health basis. A prohibition policy generally considers environmental pollution problems due to Styrofoam is not degrade.

Styrofoam Packaging

The term of Styrofoam is actually a registered trade mark of Dow Chemical Company and refers to a polystyrene insulation product that the company manufactures in sheets for construction projects. The bricks and pellets that we often see in appliance packaging and the thin containers used in the food industry are more accurately known as expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging. Styrofoam made of polystyrene copolymers consisting of styrene monomers.

The product would be used very widely for a (fast) instant noodles packaging. In Japan, the volume of noodles packages was about 3.165 billion cups or any Japanese citizen on average consumes 25 cups of instant noodle per year. Instant noodles in a Styrofoam glass were first introduced to the market in 1971. Now the instant noodles produced by 28 countries and approximately 6.6 billion cups annually consumed by more than 80 countries around the world [2].

Styrene Monomer and Health Problem

Is Styrofoam trigger cancer? Most international agencies classify styrene as having a very low or no cancer potency.
“The carcinogenic risk to humans after long-term exposure to styrene concentrations below recommended Occupational Exposure Limits (ranges from 20 to 100 ppm across different countries) is very low.
But, it's associated with irritants. The acute toxicity of styrene has been well studied here. Inline with WHO statement, this study also concluded that in animals at 5000 ppm (which is close to the saturated vapor pressure of liquid styrene at 20°C), rats experienced coma and death within 1 hr. Very little pathology of any consequence, except for the changes which are usually associated with irritants, has been reported from animal or human studies.

Just Say No!

Although all Styrofoam products in the market are safe to use, in order to implement prudential consumption, we have not been bought anything that comes in Styrofoam during this week.

Here the things are considered:

1. Generally food packaging 'Styrofoam' can be identified by the logo. The recommended logo is triangle arrows with the number six in the middle and PS writing under the triangle.

But,in fact, we often can’t identify Styrofoam packaging when buy anything in it in Indonesia.

2. The heat generated resulting from Styrofoam chemicals mixed into the food consumed massively.

3. Styrofoam packages have been used keep fatty or oily foods, especially for fast-food, in hot conditions. I thought the saturated vapor could trigger human irritation.

This CCTW challenge is difficult to take into action, but I'll try.

1. Kemasan Polistirena Foam (Styrofoam), Info POM Vol. 9, No. 5, September 2008: Badan POM RI (in Bahasa Indonesia)
2. Benarkah Kemasan "Styrofoam" Karsinogenik?, Warta Konsumen, Edisi April, 2000. (in Bahasa Indonesia)

Related Posts:

1. Use Plastic Bags in Our Daily Lives
2. Kreativitas Yang Menggelitik Dalam Bedah (Botol) Plastik (in Bahasa Indonesia)

This post was written to participate this week's CTWW challenge is as follows :

For one week, say "NO" to polystyrene foam (commonly known as Styrofoam). This means ... don't buy it (no Styrofoam coolers, cups or toys), don't use it and don't buy anything that comes in it. At restaurants, should you have leftover food to take home, ask the server to put it in something other than Styrofoam. At fast-food establishments, refuse to buy any products which come in it. Just Say No!

Or ...

If your life is already Styrofoam free, then write a post about why Styrofoam is so bad for the environment

And, here, this week's Honor Society are:

Joe Todd at (Check out the big ad in the sidebar ... thanks, Joe!)

I Am Agel (aka Tony Beach) at and here

Sober White Women at

Kate at

Argentum Vulgaris at

Andy, The Dafthermit at and here Andy has also graciously given CTWW a "teepee" ... check it out here:

Sinclair at and here and here

Mr. Nature at

EcoGrrl at

Luthien at (thanks for the banner in the side bar, Luthien ... and to everyone who doesn't know ... Luthien has just posted her 100th article. Congrats, Luthien!!)

Yanic at

TC at and here

Elise at

Project Savior at Be sure to check out this post ... it's a delightful read!

Harri Pao at

Kimmy at

The Accessory Lady at and here

Rebeca at

Joy Winner-or-Whiner at

Green Gal at (Thanks for the banner in the sidebar, Green Gal!)

Elizabeth Barrette at

Eemilla at

Rohfun All in One Page Office Site at

Rewinn at

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