December 24, 2010

My Morning Joe

I am one of those people who can't function with out my morning cup of coffee.  My children can even tell the difference between "mom before coffee" and "mom with coffee".  My oldest daughter even buys me a new mug for Yule every year.  As a WAHM I usually brew my own coffee at home.  Some days after the kids are off to school, I'll head out to my local D&D (my favorite) and treat my self to a cup o' joe.

Recently I had a friend point out something very interesting, my coffee comes in a styrofoam cup!  We are both very green gals, but here I am drinking my coffee from styrofoam,while she's using a paper cup.  Very embarrassing moment for me.  Well of course now I bring my own travel mug for a re-fill.  It's better for the environment and less expensive.  But I started to think about not only the environment, but how safe is it to be drinking out of a styrofoam cup?  Time to do some research, and I'm shock at the information I found.

Interesting fact that I don't think many of us know:  Styrofoam cups don't exist.  Styrofoam is a trade mark name for the foam material made by the Dow Chemical company.  They don't make any kind of food packaging.  So what are we drinking out of?  Polystyrene cups, commercially manufactured from petroleum.  Styrene (the basic chemical component) can leak into you food or drink and then into you. 
Studies suggest that styrene mimics estrogen in the body and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities, and other hormone-related problems, as well as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Foods that are higher in fat and hot drinks can cause Styrene to leak faster.  This means coffee and tea can have more Styrene in them.  Also to-go foods like soups and chowders will have a higher amount of Styrene in them.  Branching out from our morning drinks and lunches on the go, you purchase items at the grocery store in Styrene containers.  Meats and cheese will have higher amounts of Styrene leaked into them.

Here are some safer options to consider.
  • Use ceramic cups and mugs.  Or go with paper cups.
  • If you work outside the home, share washing duties with your co-workers.  This will save on hot water usage.
  • Paper cups do create waste, but they are biodegradable, unlike Styrene cups.
  • Consider transferring food items bought at the grocery store into non-plastic containers, until ready to be cooked.
  • When getting take-out or "doggie bags" ask to have your food wrapped in foil.
Every where we go we are faced with Styrene containers.  Limiting your exposure and making safer choices is the best way to go.  Next time you head out to your favorite coffee shop, be safer and bring your own mug.

Note to Self: Buy a ceramic to-go coffee mug.

Enjoy you next cup 'o joe!

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