Swallowing Styrofoam: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally swallow styrofoam, you may choke, gag, vomit, or feel discomfort. This is because styrofoam is not digestible and contains harmful chemicals. You should drink a carbonated beverage or see a doctor if needed.

Styrofoam is a type of foamy material composed of styrene monomers.

It is commonly used as a packaging isolator, building insulation, and food container.

Styrofoam is a trademarked brand of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam (XPS), manufactured by DuPont.

If you accidentally swallow styrofoam, you may experience choking, gagging, vomiting, or discomfort in your throat or stomach.

This is because styrofoam is not digestible and can get stuck in your esophagus, digestive tract, or stomach.

Styrofoam contains harmful chemicals such as styrene and diethylhexyl adipate, which can leak out of the foam when it reacts with acids or heat.

These chemicals can cause irritation, inflammation, or damage to your tissues and organs.

Styrene can also affect your nervous system and cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, or depression.

Diethylhexyl adipate can disrupt your hormonal balance and affect your reproductive system.

It is quite uncommon to swallow styrofoam due to its size and shape, but it can happen if you are not careful or if you mistake it for food.

You can try to drink a carbonated beverage to see if that will help the styrofoam pass through your system.

If you have trouble breathing, swallowing, or speaking, or if you have severe pain or bleeding, you should seek medical attention immediately.

A doctor may need to remove the styrofoam from your body using an endoscope or surgery.

To avoid accidental swallowing of styrofoam, you should keep it away from children and pets, and dispose of it properly.

You should also avoid using styrofoam containers for hot or acidic foods or drinks, and never microwave them.

You can use alternative materials such as paper, cardboard, glass, or metal instead.

Finally, remember, styrofoam is not biodegradable and can stay in the environment for a long time, causing pollution and harm to wildlife.

You should reduce, reuse, or recycle styrofoam whenever possible, or avoid using it altogether.

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About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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