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  #1  
Old 02-02-2000, 01:33 PM
PatronAnejo PatronAnejo is offline
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Sometimes when I call in a carry-out order to my local health-food joint, they put the fried chicken in the styrofoam clamshell while it's still really hot and it melts a hole in the container. When I get ribs and fried chicken, the result is barbecue sauce all over the Corinthian leather.

The first couple of times this happened, I didn't eat my breakfast for fear of my life. Nowadays, I just kinda eat around the obviously affected areas.

What sort of vapors released by the container are being redeposited on my food? What are the related health hazards? Has anyone tested the plastic spatulas in the kitchen? Is Tupperware really microwave safe? What about Saran Wrap? Are the risks even significant compared to those posed by carbonized, hormone-fed cowflesh?
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2000, 01:49 PM
SavageNarce SavageNarce is offline
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Is anything really safe anymore?

The general answer to your OP: If you eat plastic, you poop plastic. As any dump operator will tell you, plastics don't biodegrade real quickly.

Note: This is not a recommendation to chew styrofoam when the munchies hit!

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  #3  
Old 02-02-2000, 02:01 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Quote:
The general answer to your OP: If you eat plastic, you poop plastic. As any dump operator will tell you, plastics don't biodegrade real quickly.
Most dump operators aren't dousing their plastics in digestive acid. Not being overly familiar with the chemical structure of plastics I don't know how they would interact with the various bodily fluids, but it seems like there would be more going on than a simple passage through the digestive tract with no chemical changes.
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2000, 02:18 PM
Scout Scout is offline
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Quote:
If you eat plastic, you poop plastic.
I can verify that. When I was a kid, I had a toy farm. One of the chickens came with little plastic eggs. My baby sister swallowed the eggs. I cried. A few days later, my mom held out a dirty diaper and said, "Here are your eggs. Do you still want them?" I cried again (and did NOT retrieve the eggs).

Of course, "plastic" is a very general term, and I have no idea what kind of plastic the eggs were. And this doesn't address one of the questions in the OP, whether it's safe to microwave Saran Wrap. I've heard there are concerns about the vapors given off when it's heated. Heating something and exposing it to digestive acids are two different things.
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  #5  
Old 02-02-2000, 04:03 PM
Andy Andy is offline
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The packaging is probably polystyrene, the bubbles being, more than likely, butane. Chemically, they would be unlikely to undergo any reaction in your digestive tract unless you have a very weird stomach containing superacids or some such like.
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  #6  
Old 02-02-2000, 04:47 PM
Vestal Blue Vestal Blue is offline
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Don't sweat it; it comes out all right in the end!

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  #7  
Old 02-02-2000, 04:51 PM
Surgoshan Surgoshan is offline
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You die a horrible, painful death. The plastic will block the egress from your stomach to your intestines, and will fill with gas and other materials, and will bloat, swell, and burst, filling your insides with semi-digested food and hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. You will die from internal bleeding and in exquisite pain.

Or what they said.

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  #8  
Old 02-02-2000, 05:12 PM
funneefarmer funneefarmer is offline
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You might want to go easy on the styrofoam munchies.
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/950414.html
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2000, 05:22 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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Any plastic that will come in contact with a food product, must be rated as safe for contact with food. Your plastic won't be rated for contact with food, if the FDA feels it's not safe. You won't die from eating a small amount of plastic that was made for contact with food.

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  #10  
Old 02-02-2000, 05:30 PM
UncleBeer UncleBeer is offline
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If you eat enough of it, topped with that plastic cheese, you'll get celluloid cellulite on your hips and thighs.

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  #11  
Old 02-02-2000, 06:17 PM
Bucky Bucky is offline
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I had a student do a very successful speech on this a few years ago. The bottom line is
DO NOT HEAT ANY FOOD IN PLASTIC IN A MICROWAVE! While the risks are individually small, they are cumulative, they are catastrophic in some instances,and they are always avoidable (unwrap the butrrito and put it on paper, etc.).

Bucky

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  #12  
Old 02-02-2000, 07:03 PM
PatronAnejo PatronAnejo is offline
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Hey Bucky, I wonder if you can dig up any specifics from that speech. I know for a fact that certain sausages are packed in an "edible" plastic casing. Does heating such sausages have any effect on their overall toxicity?
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  #13  
Old 02-02-2000, 08:36 PM
handy handy is offline
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isn't bubblegum made of plastics? Yummy.

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  #14  
Old 02-02-2000, 09:23 PM
NanoByte NanoByte is offline
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When it doesn't come out in the end, and they have to go after it, is that called 'plastic surgery'?

Ray (or is the term 'de-termination')
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2000, 10:08 PM
PatronAnejo PatronAnejo is offline
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Hey Bucky, I wonder if you can dig up any specifics from that speech. I know for a fact that certain sausages are packed in an "edible" plastic casing. Does heating such sausages have any effect on their overall toxicity?
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  #16  
Old 02-02-2000, 10:11 PM
PatronAnejo PatronAnejo is offline
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Duuuh, what does Repost from data mean? Sorry.
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  #17  
Old 02-03-2000, 07:46 AM
Cartooniverse Cartooniverse is offline
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I can tell you very clearly what happens when styrofoam burns. I shot a job years ago, in a large facility ( who shall remain nameless because I fear for my life). They make styrofoam bowls, plates, etc. The stuff is stamped out of long wide rolls of styrofoam, with HOT stamps.
I saw this funky blue haze up near the ceiling, and inquired as to it's origin. The employee said, and I do quote," That's the blue smoke. Today isn't a bad blue smoke day, some day's it gets thicker". I asked what it was, and was informed that when styrofoam burns, it releases cyanide gas.
And, have a lovely day.

Cartooniverse



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  #18  
Old 02-03-2000, 02:41 PM
torq torq is offline
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Wait a second there. Your buddy at the plant may have been funning with you a little bit.

Styrofoam is foamed polystyrene. It's made, unsurprisingly enough, from styrene.

Styrene is the common name for phenylethene, a molecule composed solely of carbon and hydrogen atoms (eight of each).

Cyanide, on the other hand, is a moiety (not a molecule, but a piece of one) consisting of one carbon atom and one _nitrogen_ atom.

Now, in theory, you could get the nitrogen from air, but in practice the N2 molecule is pretty darn stable and not likely to break apart.

Polyurethanes, now, are a different story. And PVC, while not giving off "cyanide", can release hydrogen chloride or chlorine gas, neither of which you really want to breathe if you can avoid it.
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  #19  
Old 02-03-2000, 04:25 PM
Guy Incognito Guy Incognito is offline
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What happens if you eat plastic?

You are allowed to take a dump in the #2 plastic bin at your local recycling center.

No wonder soda in 2-liter bottles tastes like crap...

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There are no accidents 'round here."
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  #20  
Old 02-03-2000, 05:05 PM
labradorian labradorian is offline
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Don't ask me about the LEGO incident.

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  #21  
Old 02-03-2000, 06:35 PM
AzRaek AzRaek is offline
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Legos? You amateur! I ate a whole family of the Fisher-Price people when I was a tot. My sister, standing next to me in the bathroom yelling "hey, there's the dad! and the baby!"

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  #22  
Old 02-04-2000, 07:51 AM
Bucky Bucky is offline
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PatronAnejo, sorry, can't do it. The speech was given by a student of mine in 91. I am not really sure that I could track him down (not completely sure I would want to, either). He was a research monkey and I only let people use medical sources for medical topics.

On the other hand, there are plastic wrappings on sausages...

Okay, don't heat stuff in plastic wraps/bags and such, but eat the sausages. MMM, sausages.

Bucky

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  #23  
Old 02-04-2000, 08:34 AM
labradorian labradorian is offline
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Fisher-Price people are round.

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Dee da dee da dee dee do do / Dee ba ditty doh / Deedle dooby doo ba dee um bee ooby / Be doodle oodle doodle dee doh http://members.xoom.com/labradorian/
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  #24  
Old 02-04-2000, 01:12 PM
SINsApple SINsApple is offline
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As a child, I occasionally ate small bits of plastic. Don't ask me why. But they never seemed to harm me, and I always assumed they passed right thru anyhow. I also use to chew the wax coating off the sides of McDonald's cups.

And before you ask: Yes, I have an oral fixation. I am also a fingernail biting fiend. Man, I never realized how wierd I am. . .

Did anyone else ever taste crayons and play-doh?

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"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." --Whitman
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  #25  
Old 02-04-2000, 02:51 PM
egkelly egkelly is offline
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What happens to those guys who eat glass? I've seen some really weird acts on TV-they had an Indian guy who munches broken fluorescent tubes (ugh!). Remember the frenchman (Mssr. Mangetout) who ate a bicycle-must really wreck your stomach!
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