Styrofoam containers causing health concerns - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Styrofoam containers causing health concerns

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's not just what's in your plate lunch that could be bad for you, but what your food is served in can also cause problems.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added new items to its list of carcinogens and substances reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.

Among them is styrene, which is found in Styrofoam containers that can carry your plate lunch or cup of coffee.  People can be exposed to it by breathing in vapors.  There is also concern it could leach into your food if it's hot enough, although at this point in the research there are a lot of unknowns.

"From things like Styrofoam cups I think the leakage is minimal and that's really not a big concern according to this report," said Thaddeus Herzog, Ph.D., Cancer Research Center of Hawaii.  "I think people should be aware of the substance styrene that it is in these products and it's something to be aware of."

"It's probably true, it's one of those things we just accept which is probably not a good thing," said Reno Abihai, Ewa.

"People are so dependent on it I think the only possible way is to bring back the old plate lunches with the old cardboard paper plates," said Timothy Vendetta, Waianae.

The greatest exposure to styrene comes from cigarette smoke, which is also another reason why Dr. Herzog urges people to quit smoking.

To read more about the findings click here.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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