There are definite standards to follow while manufacturing these disposable paper cups. This ensures that paper cups do not become toxic when soaked in water or hot liquids. However, some unscrupulous traders and small workshop manufacturers do not follow these guidelines. In order to reduce the cost of paper cups production, they can use industrial wax and harmful waste plastic, which again may not meet the standards of manufacturing. And so, use of these paper cups can definitely effect your health in long term.
The wax material and chemicals in low quality disposable paper cups can indeed melt and get into your digestive tract. In the long run, this can lead to gastrointestinal disorders and other health issues.
Consider hot coffee poured into a polystyrene cup. What happens? “The migration of styrene from a polystyrene cup into the beverage it contains has been observed to be as high as 0.025% for a single use. That may seem like a rather low number, until you work it this way: If you drink beverages from polystyrene cups four times a day for three years, you may have consumed about one foam cup's worth of styrene along with your beverages.”
Polystyrene nanoparticles also affect the absorption process
and cause a physiological response.
It’s difficult (and sickening) to imagine eating Styrene plastic in any quantity.
But the problem doesn’t stop with container chemistry. Fat products in food as well as acidic products can leach more polystyrene out of the plastic than water does. Long-term exposure to small quantities of styrene is also suspected of causing:
* Low platelet counts or hemoglobin values;
* Chromosomal and lymphatic abnormalities;
* Neurotoxic effects due to accumulation of styrene in the tissues of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, resulting in fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and other acute or chronic health problems associated with the nervous system.
There are measurable levels of styrene in both unprocessed and processed foods
Note how foods higher in fats leach more styrene out of the plastic, and this list is far from being all inclusive! There are the plastics that microwave food is packaged in. There is still a toxin threat even if they heat those items up in a conventional oven instead of using a microwave.
There are measurable levels of styrene in both unprocessed and processed foods as shown below:
|| STYRENE LEVEL (ppb)
||170 - 39,000
||5.3 - 6.4
|| 2 - 6
||1.6 - 6.4
||1 - 2.2
||0.37 - 3.1
||0.4 - 2
|| STYRENE LEVEL (ppb)
Also, these paper, styrofoam and plastic cups also have harmful effects on the environment. Most disposable products do not decompose in a landfill, or may release dangerous gases like methane if decomposed anaerobically. The polyethylene that is used in preparing many brands of cups is made from petroleum or natural gas. It is not biodegradable without special treatment, and therefore accumulates. Moreover, this plastic resin prevents recycling of paper cups, which in turn demands more paper, harming the environment again, in the form of deforestation.
The solution? Use your own glass container or thermos of which there are no many on the market. Some are stainless steel glass bottles are also being made where the lining is glass and the outside steel shell prevents breaking.
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.