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I just made ice cubes in an egg carton made of styrofoam. It worked great but, will I die if I use them in my ice tea? Answered

I was about to throw away an egg carton when I had an idea to reuse it. What if I filled it with water and put it in the freezer? So I did taking care to alert my housemates not to use them. I checked them this morning and they came out solid and easily. There were no particles in the cubes but I am still a little leery. I am wondering if there is and adverse health affects to be concerned about having the cubes go from water to ice while in contact with styrofoam. Is there any chance that the styrofoam will come off onto the cubes during the freezing process?


Yes, you will die.

It will, however, be highly probable that your death will be neither (a) soon nor (b) anything to do with styrofoam*.

*Avoid jaywalking - styrofoam is much more dangerous when carried in lorries.

In theory, some styrene molecules from the egg carton could have dissolved into the water before it froze.

In practice -

1) I'm pretty sure that egg cartons are made of the same sort of food-grade polystyrene that coffee cups and to-go cartons are made of, which is specially made so as to keep those styrene molecules chemacailly bound into the plastic.

2) It's likely that you washed the egg carton in hot soapy water before you used it for your ice cubes (ice eggs?), and the dissolve-able styrene molecules would have dissolved into the dishwater.

3) Styrene molecules wouldn't dissolve very readily into cold water from the tap, and would dissolve even less readily as the water cooled and froze.

4) Even if items 1-3 were not the case, the level of chemical exposure we're talking about is such that, if you drank a tall glass of ice tea with styrene-moleclue-bearing ice cubes every day for 40 years, your risk of getting cancer might be measurably increased, but would probably still be much lower than your risk of cancer from smoking (if you smoke), or of dying in auto accident (whether you smoke or not).
The only way one of those ice cubes is likely to kill you today is if you were unfortunate enough to choke on it - and at least one of your roommates probably knows the Heimlich manuever :).

This doesn't mean that ingesting styrene is a good idea, just that I woudn't worry about today's ice cubes. If you want to be completely free of worry about tomorrow's ice cubes, line the egg carton with plastic wrap before filling it with water.

(And I have to disgree with Kelsey. While we are all going to die sooner or later, I think we're all going to go up to that great big extremely-well-equipped Workshop in the Sky. :)

Extremely well written...more than I cared to - Polystyrene will last forever. I doubt it even reacts with stomach acid or any digestive juices for that matter. I would 'almost' go so far as to say its safe to eat. (not recommended by any means)... *vote best answer here*

Yes. You will die and you will go to Hell. Just like all the rest of us. Now go drink your iced tea and become complacent with your mortality.

I would think the bigger health problems would be what was in the Styrofoam before the ice, eggs can have salmonella and all that. Granted that might be contained inside the shell, but i still wouldnt lick an egg. I would guess that styrofoam could come off inside the ice, but any white styrofoam would appear in a transparent ice cube. I know styrofoam cups are safe to drink out of, but I think egg cartons are made from a different styrofoam (i wouldnt know, i get mine in the cardboard like one). Couldnt hurt looking into.

Firstly, styrofoam is not poisonous, secondly, if it's a good strong styrofoam then it should not have had anything pulled out by the water.

As long as the egg carton was thoroughly cleaned with soap and hot water before you made ice cubes, it should be fine.


8 years ago

nope you wont die

You're more likely to suffer salmonella poisoning than styrofoam poisoning - what do they make coffee cups out of ???