Do you have any styrofoam containers in your home? You might want to know that microwaving these containers can be dangerous. If you are unsure, then it is best to avoid this danger by not microwaving them at all.
Microwaves work by heating up the food until it’s hot enough for eating. When the styrofoam container heats up in a microwave, chemicals leak out of the plastic and into your food which could lead to health risks. It is best to stick with glass or ceramic items when reheating leftover foods for safety reasons!
So, can you microwave Styrofoam safely?
What Is Styrofoam?
Styrofoam is simply polystyrene, a very-long-chain molecule of styrene molecules. Styrene is derived from petroleum and its properties are the same as hard plastics.
It has about half the structural integrity of natural wood so it’s not recommended for you to use or consume anything made of Styrofoam that can’t be microwaved because it will likely degrade into harmful chemicals that your body won’t be able to handle.
Styrofoam is a trademarked term, but it’s a synthetic foam material that was originally made from polystyrene.
The material is often used for protective packaging and to provide shape in shipping. It can be expanded or extruded into open-cell or closed-cell versions by using the gas nitrous oxide. In terms of differences, open-cell reduces water pooling while closed-cell keeps liquid from seeping in too easily.
In many countries, the usage of styrofoam has been banned due to its “bad” environmental impacts such as a low biodegradability rate and release of unsafe chemicals when heated up within food containers that may cause cancer among other things.
Styrofoam Dangers & Side Effects
Polystyrene is highly flammable but depending on the application chemicals added can strengthen its resistance against heat. Unfortunately, Styrofoam containers are thin and are not designed to cook thus also posing fire risks.
Polystyrene has styrene and benzene poisoning molecules that possess potential carcinogenic and neurotoxic qualities which have further shown adverse reactions. Its published reviews indicate polystyrene has shown signs of decomposition for the duration of approximately 10 days and shows tiny trace amounts of phenol.
EPA says that for styrene that limit would be close to the upper limit for safety.
>> Read Also: Can You Microwave Ziploc Bags?
How To Tell If Styrofoam Is Microwave Oven Safe?
If your styrofoam container doesn’t have a microwave-safe symbol, we do not recommend putting it in the microwave.
If you can’t verify that your styrofoam container is microwave safe, transfer the food to a glass or ceramic container labeled microwave safe.
Heating Styrofoam: What You Need To Know
Not all food containers have been created with the microwave. In microwave ovens, metal cannot travel because wave waves cannot pass through metal. Plastic goods are microwave safe. They can’t even transport or store food.
Styrofoam packaging made of expanded polystyrene is not oven safe. They are safest used to store food in the refrigerator but never used for cooking in the oven. The FDA requires manufacturers to test these containers using tests that meet FDA standards and specifications and then reviews test data before applying a test in microwave applications.
Check for the FDA microwave-safe label.
Styrofoam is a synthetic material based on extruded polystyrene foam. It is a petroleum-containing plastic that is used to serve and pack beverages. It can melt and contaminate food with toxic chemicals when the wrong type is selected.
Only use styrofoam labeled microwave safe for cooking food. Only Styrofoams which are certified safe is common for: making warm or reheating hot foods/drinks and reheating the foods after consumption. Styrofoam can break apart, contaminate foods and cause accidents.
>> Read also: Can You Microwave Milk?
Microwaving Styrofoam FAQ:
Is It Safe To Microwave Food In Styrofoam?
Generally, styrofoam cups are safe to microwave if they don’t have an additive like BPA. But the FDA doesn’t recommend microwaving foods in any type of packaging, arguing that it can result in uneven heating and hot spots which can lead to burns or scalds.
It’s also important to note that polystyrene itself is not a carcinogen but small pieces of polystyrene may burn when heated which then emit toxic fumes that could harbor respiratory irritants or trigger airway constriction. Only put microwave-safe styrofoam in the microwave.
Can You Microwave Styrofoam For 30 Seconds?
Styrofoam is currently a widely accepted disposable container frequently used for taking out and receiving delivery in the food and beverage industries. Microwave, being one of the easiest kitchen devices and easy to cook food is often used for heating and reheated food items.
As you know the materials cannot be microwaved. In 30 seconds its optimum safety depends in reality on factors including energy levels and design specifications.
Is It Safe To Reheat Food In Microwave Safe Styrofoam?
Yes and no, it is safe to reheat food in a microwave-safe styrofoam container as long as the styrofoam has not been contaminated. However, styrofoam is not particularly durable or sustainable so it would be better to use a ceramic or glass microwave-safe bowl for this task.
How Long Can You Microwave Styrofoam?
Several studies have been performed in order to find a definitive answer to the question of how long a polystyrene foam plate can be microwaved.
It is widely accepted in the scientific community that styrofoam cups and plates should not be microwaved for more than 60 seconds, but it has been difficult for them to pinpoint an exact amount of time because many factors contribute to how quickly heat will transfer from inside the microwave into the Styrofoam.
Is It Safe To Microwave Styrofoam Containers?
Styrofoam containers are made up of toxic chemicals and are harmful to your health if heated up or consumed. It can cause minor problems like stomach pain to major problems like neurological damage or even cancer. This is why you must only microwave containers that have a microwave-safe label from the FDA.
Polystyrene foam and Styrofoam containers work well with the freezer food to store. Transfer ingredients into a microwavable-safe bowl before heating food.
Can You Microwave Paper Bags And Takeout Containers?
Unless paper bags are designed for microwave use, they are not safe for reheating. Brown paper lunch bags and print paper food bags can cause toxins to form or burn food.
Final Thoughts On Microwaving Styrofoam
There are a few things to keep in mind before you start microwaving your styrofoam. First, make sure it does not have any metal fasteners or plastic coatings because those can cause sparks and lead to an explosion. It should also be clean.
If there is food on the styrofoam that will overheat from being near the microwave then it could create fumes as well as potentially release harmful chemicals into your dish or meal if left unattended for too long. If all of these requirements are met, feel free to pop that frozen dinner right in!