Microwaves have been one of the most widely used gadgets these days. The most widely frequented question that microwave users have been into is – “Is it suitable to use Styrofoam when using microwave”? Can you put Styrofoam in the microwave? Well, that is a million-dollar question. And that is precisely what we would be covering today – Is it safe to use Styrofoam in the microwave?
What is Styrofoam Made Of?
When we refer to Styrofoam, we mean foam like the lightweight product that we use for storing food and drink temporarily. However, there are two types of Styrofoam currently available. Which type of Styrofoam are using would make a huge difference.
The first of these options is the traditional Styrofoam. This is made of the material referred to as polystyrene. This is a plastic product and is made from compounds like styrene and benzene. If you have followed the science of plastics and chemicals properly, we would be aware that these two are bad compounds – if you really care about your health. It has been found that these two chemicals are carcinogenic and cause cancer.
The second type of Styrofoam is not as traditional as what we covered just now. These are made from a similar product as used in a traditional Styrofoam but use safer components. That should not necessarily mean the chemicals are completely safer, but you can be assured of lower levels of dangerous compounds.
The ingredients used in the manufacture of this second variety of Styrofoam appear similar to the traditional ones but have been designed to handle the heat more effectively. Now, let us consider safety when it comes to using styrofoam in the microwave.
Is it Safe to Microwave Styrofoam?
The major problem with the Styrofoam is it is affected by heat. While the food-grade Styrofoam has been designed to work with microwaves, it is not much able to withstand heat. High heat or prolonged exposure to heat can make the Styrofoam to melt or break.
If this happens in the case of the first Styrofoam that we just talked about, you are likely to end up with the broken or melting Styrofoam. This will make the styrene and benzene to mix into your food items. From that point of view, you would definitely not want to put the Styrofoam into your microwave or burn it.
Styrofoam has been certified for use with food items only to a certain extent, but the exposure beyond that threshold may not be the right option. Microwaving it can certainly cause severe issues. It can make the Styrofoam to leech into your food, and that is exactly what you would not want to happen with your food. Especially when you are using the first type of Styrofoam.
But, we do not know which type of Styrofoam is used in our case, right? That would make it an obvious option not to go with a Styrofoam inside a microwave.
Do note that the second type of Styrofoam is microwave safe. Of course, nothing can be stated for sure. The FDA needs to check the constituents of the Styrofoam to arrive at the best possible analysis. In case the material passes through the FDA approval, the same will be indicated on the package. The best way you can be assured of the type of Styrofoam and whether you can rely upon it when microwaving it can be to check the sides or the bottom of the cup or any other Styrofoam container. If it is microwaveable, you should find a label or symbol that should let you know if you can use the container in a microwave.
Conclusion on Whether You can put Styrofoam in Microwave?
Well, that was all that should guide you. The key options are simple – if you are in doubt, just stay away and throw out the container. Never use a Styrofoam container in microwave oven if you do not see any sign that indicates that it can be used in a microwave. Infact, one shall always ensure safety before using any kitchen appliances.
And if you have used it by error, and find that the material has any signs of leaking into the food, avoid using the food and throw it away!