I was sipping coffee with friends the other day and glanced down to see that my Starbucks disposable lid was a #6. Aaaahhh! Hot coffee + potentially hazardous material when heated = not a good combination. I called Starbucks and as I expected they assured me that all of their products are safe and comply with government (US) standards. They also assured me that should any information come out showing otherwise they would act accordingly and quickly. While I agree they comply with government standards (after-all we have no laws banning Starbucks, and other food/beverage companies, from using these plastics), that doesn't mean I'm in favor of the current standards. I told the customer service rep that those lids are #6, which represents polystyrene plastics. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the following risks could exist with these plastics.
Styrene can leach from polystyrene plastic.
Styrene is toxic to the brain and nervous system,
among workers with longer-term exposures but also
has been found to adversely affect red blood cells, liver, kid-
neys and stomach in animal studies. Aside from exposure
from food containers, children can be exposed to styrene
from secondhand cigarette smoke, off-gassing of building
materials, auto exhaust fumes and drinking water.