In the U.S., the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates all food packaging materials, including polystyrene. All food packaging – glass, aluminum, paper and plastics (such as polystyrene) – contains substances that can “migrate” in very tiny amounts to foods or beverages. Tiny amounts of styrene may remain in polystyrene following manufacture, so FDA has evaluated both the safety of the food contact material itself (polystyrene) and the safety of the substance that may migrate (styrene). The result of these evaluations: FDA for decades has determined that polystyrene is safe for use in contact with food.

FDA for decades has determined that polystyrene is safe for use in contact with food –

What do public health organizations say about the safety of polystyrene foodservice packaging?  Public health officials encourage the use of sanitary, single-use foodservice packaging (such as polystyrene) in appropriate settings – single-use foodservice packaging can help reduce food borne illness in homes, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, cafeterias and restaurants.

NTP: “Styrene Is Not an Issue” in Polystyrene Foodservice Packaging To put its 12th Report in perspective, NTP states: “It is important to note that the reports do not present quantitative assessments of carcinogenic rise…Listing in the report does not establish that such substances present a risk to persons in their daily lives. Such formal risk assessments are the purview of the appropriate federal, state, and local health regulatory and research agencies.” So NTP has not concluded that styrene or plastic foodservice packaging made with styrene present any risk to human health.  Indeed, the NTP Director Dr. Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., was quoted widely in Associated Press reports in June 2011: “Let me put your mind at ease right away about polystyrene foam* … [the levels of styrene from polystyrene containers] are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting…In finished products, certainly styrene is not an issue.” Source: news reports of Associated Press story, June 2011  John Bucher, NTP Associate Director, was quoted in Associated Press reports in August 2011: “The risks, in my estimation, from polystyrene are not very great,” he said. “It’s not worth being concerned about.”