It is very refreshing to drink sour or sweet drinks in summer, but acidic drinks may damage cups and cause them to release chemicals. For example, orange and lemon may damage the inner surface of thermos flasks and make them less able to keep things warm. When acidic drinks like fruit juice and some tea drinks come into contact with polycarbonate (PC) plastic bottles, they can release biphenol A (BPA), which can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance and cause obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, PC plastic cups should only be used for cold water.
Polystyrene foam is not a good choice either. As well as being bad for the environment, it can easily release harmful substances when it comes into contact with heat. Polystyrene is a polymer of styrene, and the production technology involved means that incomplete polymerization can easily occur, causing carcinogenic styrene monomers, dimers and trimers to be released.
The best material for cups used to contain acidic drinks is glass, which is a stable material that can be reused and does not release chemicals. However, you do have to take care not to subject it to sharp changes in temperature, otherwise it might crack.
Photo: Wu Liang-i, Liberty Times
Food and Drug Administration regulations say that food containers whose contact surface contains plastic, and even mixed-material containers with stainless steel bodies and plastic lids, must be labeled with information about their composition, heat resistance temperature and whether they are reusable or for single use only.
(Liberty Times, translated by Julian Clegg)
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