Q:

What happens if you eat styrofoam?

A:

Quick Answer

A small amount of Styrofoam shouldn't cause any health problems, but it does contain some harmful chemicals. According to the AAFP, foreign objects usually pass through the digestive tract without requiring medical intervention.

  Know More

Full Answer

Styrofoam is a foam plastic that is made from styrene monomers. It is popular as an insulator in packaging and for food. There are hazardous chemicals in Styrofoam, including styrene and diethylhexyl adipate. When exposed to heat or acids, these chemicals can leach out of the Styrofoam in small amounts. This is partly why Styrofoam is not considered microwave-safe, as the plastic also breaks down easily. However, if used to drink or eat cool items, Styrofoam is safe.

The American Academy of Family Physicians says that most foreign objects pass easily through the digestive tract without causing problems. If a small amount of Styrofoam is accidentally eaten it probably won't harm the body. A large amount of Styrofoam may get stuck in the esophagus, stomach or the intestines. It won't be digested, potentially blocking the system up and causing problems. After an examination, the doctor may decide to remove the blockage by pulling it out or pushing it through the tight spot. This depends on where the Styrofoam is caught in the body.

Learn more about Conditions & Diseases

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What happens when your kidneys shut down?

    A:

    When the kidneys cease to function, a person suffers from a condition called uremia, as stated by Temple University Hospital. If the condition cannot be reversed, it can be referred to as end-stage renal disease.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What can cause headaches?

    A:

    Primary headaches can be caused by consuming alcohol, skipping meals, eating certain foods, stress or a lack of sleep, state Mayo Clinic. Secondary headaches can be precipitated by several conditions, such as having acute sinusitis, concussion, influenza, a hangover or dental problems.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What can cause HIV?

    A:

    The human immunodeficiency virus causes HIV infections, according to WebMD. Contact with vaginal fluid, blood or semen that is infected can cause someone to contract the virus. Unprotected sex, sharing drug needles, childbirth and breastfeeding are four ways to come into contact with these bodily fluids. Blood transfusions are another way to get HIV, but the risk is tiny, says Mayo Clinic.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What can cause dyspnea?

    A:

    Some common causes of dyspnea, or shortness of breath, include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and interstitial lung disease, according to Mayo Clinic. High altitude, strenuous activities, obesity and temperature extremes can cause shortness of breath in otherwise healthy individuals.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore