Can You Microwave Styrofoam- Keep This in Mind before Doing So!

    Can You Microwave Styrofoam

    Can you microwave styrofoam safely or is it completely safe to put these containers inside a microwave? Let’s find out!

    We all have truly been there in a dilemma not knowing what has to be done next, right? Microwaves have been around us for over a few decades now and are absolutely amazing for making the kitchen work super simple, mainly the heating work. You just cannot imagine what people used to earlier when microwaves were not even introduced. Can you?

    However, due to a few health concerns, you might be wondering what kind of containers can we put inside the microwave when it comes to heating the beverages or food item of your choice or can you microwave styrofoam or not.

    Here is a small article that will completely help you determine can you microwave styrofoam or not, also if you are doing so, you will know what are the safety precautions you must take.

    Let’s see what exactly is a styrofoam if you are still confusing it with some other materials.

    What Is Styrofoam?

    can you microwave styrofoam

    Styrofoam is the term trademarked by the Dow Chemical Company. It generally indicates the type of polystyrene foam commonly used in various building industries.

    However, in few places like Canada and United States, this term is not used correctly most often. They use styrofoam to refer to an extended polystyrene foam that is mainly injected inside molds to create disposable containers, coffee cups, plates, and packaging peanuts.

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    These containers are highly popular because they are extremely cheap and acts as great insulators meaning all the beverages and food items kept inside these remain warm. Though containers made of polystyrene were immensely popular in past, several cities have banned them slowly in the United States like Seattle ad San Fransisco due to their health concerns and environmental impacts.

    They are an environmental concern because unlike many other materials you can use, they do not decompose readily and are not easy to recycle. Also, there are high chances of animals considering them as food bits and eating them making them hazardous.

    From a health perspectve, they have a compound called styrene, which is something you must be concerned about as it is linked directly to cancers in a few humans studies and animals.

    With so and so health concerns, can you microwave styrofoam without impacting your health and damaging the environment? That we have to find out yet!

    Can You Microwave Styrofoam?

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    Photo by Clker-Free-Vector-Images on Pixabay

    Few health concerns are reading microwaving these styrofoam or polystyrene foam containers, let’s find out what are they.

    One key reason why you should not microwave styrofoam is that they contain the chemical styrene which animals and human studies have not found safe and linked to cancer-like fatal diseases.

    In addition to this, when you microwave beverages or food items in containers prepared from material polystyrene or plastic, substances they are prepared from or manufactured from might leak into your food due to heating. This is mainly applicable to fatty foods such as cheese and meat.

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    However, it is crucial to note that the FDA or food and rug administration regulated polystyrene and plastic containers, plates, and cups, and tests their safety and usage in the ovens and microwaves.

    This indicates that plastic or polystyrene products that are labeled as microwave-safe are already tested by the FDA and are safe to be used in microwaves without any concern.

    On the other hand, you should not microwave food inside a styrofoam container if the able on it does not say it is safe to be sued in the microwave or not because safety is not assured in this case. This precaution is not specific to only microwaves and it is applied to all the heating methods you normally use in your kitchen.

    That being said, you can now figure out which styrofoam containers you can heat in the microwave and which you cannot. Ther are other methods too that you can use easily to heat the food safely.

    How to heat food safely

    If you are even a tad bit concerned about heating food items in styrofoam or polystyrene-made containers, here are some tips to be used for heating food safely.

    1. Use containers that are safe to be used in the microwave. If you are using a container prepared from styrofoam, make sure the label on it says “microwave safe”.
    2. Transfer your food into glass or ceramic before you microwave it. Alternatively, you may also transfer the food into pyrex, glass, and ceramic containers before heating them.
    3. Use oven or stove instead of microwaves. Another way to prevent or dodge any risk is to transfer the food into a pan or a pot on your stovetop or simply put it into a baking tray to heat the oven.
    4. Check for cracks and scratches. Plastic and polystyrene containers that are significantly old or have any scratches over them should be immediately disposed of off as they may leach harmful chemicals into your food.
    5. Vent all the containers before heating them. This helps prevent pressure from forming thus causing the food inside those contents to explode.
    6. Remove the containers carefully. You can use gloves or mittens to remove the containers after heating them to avoid burning the hands.
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    The above tips will help you reheat and microwave your food safely. Just make sure you use containers that are labeled as safe to be used in the microwave.


    Now you might know can you microwave styrofoam or not. Avoid microwaving styrofoam or any material made of styrene that does not have a label that reads- microwave safe. This is because the safety of these containers is not assured and you do not want to harm yourself.

    This is because the polystyrene containers have a compound called styrene which is harmful and links to cancer. If you have health concerns regarding safe labeled containers, transfer the food into the microwave-safe glass, pyrex, or ceramic containers proper to heating the food.

    This was all you needed to know on can you microwave styrofoam or not, and if you do, what are the safety precautions you must take.


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