Is It Safe To Consume From Styrofoam Boxes

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“Uncle! Rice with egg, fish, veg and curry... Dabao please!”


If this is you every day during lunch time, this video is for you.


When it comes to buying caifan, you don’t think twice about those little styrofoam boxes. All that matters is enjoying your dabao-ed food in the comfort of the air-conditioned office.


Unlike your tingkat toting colleagues, you don’t have to worry about washing up. Just throw only.


Styrofoam packaging is that easy, low-commitment relationship until…. PLOT TWIST, it turns out to be toxic for you.


Just last year, the World Health Organisation identified styrene as a “probable” human carcinogen.


Guess what contains styrene? Polystyrene foam - which has been undercover all this while as your friendly neighbourhood styrofoam packaging.


Every time the drink stall auntie pours you a steaming cup of kopi ‘o’ kosong dabao, trace amounts of styrene is released into the beverage.


At a high enough temperature, the styrene in the styrofoam will be activated. And with long term consumption, the chemical could make you sick.


We all have our super laze days where we just wanna be hermits at home. Sometimes, the only form of sustenance is the cold, soggy dabao-ed leftovers from yesterday.


We know what you’re thinking. Just pop the food, styrofoam box and all, into the microwave amirite? DON’T do it.


Microwaving styrofoam boxes is a big no-no because under that intense heat the styrofoam may melt. The higher the temperature, the more likely styrene will leach into your food.


And melted styrofoam is not kind on the ol’ stomach. It may cause you to vomit and feel nauseous.


Major fast food delivery services in Singapore have stopped using styrofoam. It may keep your food from going cold but hot oil and steam may also trigger the release of the harmful chemical.


You must be wondering then, why in the world are we still using styrofoam boxes so liberally?


In 2016, Singapore almost declared a ban against styrofoam but it fell through. The reason? Styrofoam is 2 to 3 times cheaper than plastic containers and coated paper boxes.


The good news is that although styrene is toxic to humans, the small amount of chemical absorbed by your food is not enough to suddenly kill you.


But still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re eating and drinking from styrofoam packaging every single day, you should probably rethink your lunch strategy.


We’ve all heard the usual complaints against styrofoam. It hurts the Earth’s ozone and sits in the landfill taking up space for 500 years. But who knew it can make humans sick too?


With all this new information coming to light, maybe its time to save that 20 cents and bring your own Tupperware instead.