Can You Microwave Styrofoam

Can You Microwave Styrofoam? The Answer Might Surprise You

Can you microwave styrofoam?

Throughout the existence of microwaves, this question has been asked repeatedly. One way or another, it should be answered. Many foods today are stored in styrofoam containers. Of course, we are not just microwaving styrofoam alone. That's simply funny.


Kidding aside, kitchen users should know if styrofoam are safe to use or not. It is a matter that involves safety and health, after all. Fortunately, I hold the right answers to this pressing query.

Before I answer this question, I have to give some background regarding styrofoam. Don't ever think that this particular material is all but the same. Sure. The layman on the street would think that styrofoam have the same structure, purpose, or built. Guilty or not, most of you think of the white, lightweight, foam-like material when this term is being mentioned.

Don't worry. Such a misconception is nothing that you should be ashamed of. In the past, I have the same idea, too.

When I learned about the facts, I was quite surprised.


One should know, styrofoam have two types. The traditional one is commonly understood in the industry as the "styrofoam" that is made from polystyrene. The latter is a variant of plastic that is formed through the combination of benzene and styrene. Well, if you have a slight hint about these compounds, you already know that they are harmful to human health.

There are some studies that confirmed that containing high levels of these two compounds can result in cancer. They have carcinogenic effects, which is something that automatically spells disaster. Aside from that, they can also harm the reproductive system, too. In short, you don't want to deal with products that contain a lot of polystyrenes.

Keep in mind that styrofoam generates unlikely effects when exposed to heat. When heated for extended periods, the material tends to melt or break. If this is the case, then there's a high possibility that benzene and styrene can be mixed with the food. Therefore, styrofoam should not put in a microwave, especially if you put it on high temperatures. If the heat is just minimal, then styrofoam should be harmful. Otherwise, it is not acceptable.

The "Safer Ones"

Recently, new types of styrofoam have been released commercially. They have a different composition as compared to the traditional polystyrene. However, you can guarantee that they still have the properties of styrofoam that we are all familiar with. The only significant change here is that the use of harmful chemicals is already mitigated.

This particular styrofoam has been designed to address the problem of conventional types of styrofoam. This variant can deal with heat better than its counterpart. When exposed to high temperatures, it doesn't melt, break, or release harmful compounds to the food. To put it simply, this styrofoam should be your choice if you want to maintain the safety levels of your food when microwaving them.

Of course, there's a guarantee that the new version of styrofoam is safe. After all, it has surpassed the standards of the Food and Drugs Administration (DFA) when it comes to chemical leaching. Any styrofoam that has been tested and approved by the FDA possesses suitability for use.

Therefore, to ensure that particular styrofoam is safe to be used in the microwave, just look at its label. Does it have the FDA seal, then you should get it. If not, then feel free to hesitate. Your safety is on the line here.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam: Highlighting Specific Situations

Can You Microwave Styrofoam: Highlighting Specific Situations

There are scenarios where styrofoam are inevitably included in the food preparation process. Should you feel doubtful about how safe they are?

  • Cup Noodles - It is completely common for people to microwave cup noodles. Fortunately, this process should not cause you any worry. The containers of these ready-to-eat noodles are designed to have safe interaction with heat. Even if you expose them in a microwave, they will not generate deleterious reactions. But of course, it is better to be safe than sorry, right? Before you put it in the microwave, check its label first, and look for the instructions. In this way, you can determine if preparing the noodles through microwaving is safe or not.
  • Disposable Plates - One of the most common kitchen utilities that have a styrofoam variant is plates. These disposable or throwaway plates are often inserted inside microwaves. After all, they are the favorite container of leftovers. But is this practice safe? Well, the answer is no. Styrofoam plates are not recommended to be exposed to high temperatures. They are susceptible to breaking and melting.
  • Styrofoam Cups - How about these styrofoam cups? Can you microwave them? My answer is another no. In fact, I am begging you that you shouldn't try it at all. And if you are doing it already, then it is not too late to stop it. These cups are designed to withstand heat but for only limited periods and temperatures. The liquid that you pour on them should be drank quickly. Otherwise, the heat will affect the physical and chemical compositions of the styrofoam. Always remember that the best way to drink is still on a ceramic or glass mug.

So What’s The Verdict?

Can you microwave styrofoam? The answer really depends on the type of styrofoam that you have. If it is ordinary styrofoam, then you should not use it on your microwave. If it is FDA-approved styrofoam, then, by all means, you can use it to the said heating machine without the fear that it will harm your health. Also, being able to distinguish the quality of the styrofoam is crucial for you to know its optimal usage.

If you are really health conscious, then you might want to avoid the use of plastic, styrofoam, and other similar materials in your kitchen. Instead, you should use amenities that don’t interact with heat at all. They can give you a better sense of relief.

Did you learn from this article? If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

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