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Migration of styrene in styrofoam cups into hot liquids

This study by Khaksar and Khansari, published in the journal Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, found that the migration of styrene into liquids increases with the temperature of the liquid, the fat content of the liquid (ie, there was more migration into hot milk than into tea), and time of exposure.  Above 20 degrees Centigrade (68 degrees Farenheit), the styrene migration was “considerable”.  Hot beverages, such as tea, hot chocolate, and coffee, are frequently served between 160 and 185 degrees Farenheit.

Another study also found that styrene migration was found to be strongly dependent upon the fat content and storage temperature.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Toxicology Program (NTP) listed styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” in the Report on Carcinogens, Twelfth Edition, released on June 10, 2011.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that styrene is a possible carcinogen.