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Sunday December 4th 2016
Technopark Living

Too hot to handle?

Cup[Update 23-Sep: The article here refers to wax-coated paper cups and not polyethylene(PE)-coated paper cups. PE-coated cups are approved by government, and used widely in railways and other institutions. The article have been modified to reflect this more specifically.]

Varun*, an IT professional working in Technopark, was finding himself with an upset stomach every night. While normal medical checks revealed nothing wrong in him, deeper probes revealed the reason – his stomach was collecting significant amounts of wax. And doctors identified the villian – the substandard paper cups he used for drinking his tea at his office pantry.

Disposable paper cups have become quite popular in office pantries due to the convenience it offers. While governments have approved PE-coated paper cups as safe and food-grade, a few unscrupulous manufacturers coat them with a cheaper layer of wax. When very hot liquids are poured over this cup, the wax may disintegrate and a little may come off, which will promptly be sent along with the drink into our stomachs! While our body can discard minor amounts, over the long-term, it does become a problem, especially for those with a sensitive stomach.

So what can be done about it, especially if you are not sure about the quality of the cups you get? You can try to bring your own glass cups. Glass is one of the least reactive materials in the world (remember acids are stored in glass vessels, blood samples are collected in glass plates – these are for a good reason). But glass does have the problem of breaking easily, so it requires good care. Ceramic cups are probably the best bet. Of course, you can also use your ordinary stainless steel glass, but never use plastic ones – its dangers are even worse than wax!

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10 Comments for “Too hot to handle?”

  • mark woodward says:

    Wax coated paper cups are only made by very few companies now, and are not suitable for hot drinks. All modern paper cups are made from PE coated board and are completely safe to use. All major manufacturers of paper cups use government approved raw materials, so completely safe. Using reusable mugs is a great way of waste reduction, just make sure every ones mug is clearly marked with there name to save spreading germs throughout the office, ideally washing in a dishwasher to make sure they are thoroughly sterilized would help reduce the transmitting of bugs.

    • Editor says:

      Having regulations is one thing, implementing them another. It might be just that this particular brand of paper cup was not exactly of the quality required. The particular person might have had a sensitive stomach, which made matters worse.
      In any case, there is unanimity that the reusable mug is the best solution.

  • Anonymous says:

    Is that Varun still alive?

  • Kathikeyan S says:

    If Mr. Varun’s claim is genuine, why should he hide his name & identity. He can come out with the real facts, it he proves that his claim is genuine along with relevant medical & doctor’s documents, I am ready to stop my business of producing more than 2.00 lacs paper cups a day. We are not here to earn profit by taking risk our customer’s health. The Paper what is being used is Internationally Certified for Food Grade and the PE coating (what you call it as WAX, actually it is wrong) is also Certified for Food Grade. Both the raw materials are being manufactured by Indian Conglomerates such as ITC, JK for Paper and Reliance Industries for PE. You cannot just like that post a wrong claim without any valid proof. If you are that much conscious on Public Welfare, come out with the facts to save everybody as today’s consumption is more than 1.00 crore cups a day in Chennai alone and still growing. EITHER DO JUSTICE TO THE SOCIETY OR DO NOT DO INJUSTICE TO AN INDUSTRY in which Lacs of Family’s lives are involved. I AM CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO GIVE MY NAME, EMAIL AND MOBILE NO. AS I AM CONFIDENT ENOUGH IN MY STATMENT.

    • Editor says:

      The article referred to wax-coated paper cups and not PE-coated ones, which, as you stated, are internationally accepted as safe. The article has been modified to make this clearer.

  • Kathikeyan S says:

    Dear Editor, I defer with your statement that there is a unanimity that the reusable mug i the best solution. Can you certify the water what is being used for washing the mug is safe and pure. Today, almost all leading Hospitals are using Paper Cups for their Patients’ Food Supply, not just for convenience, but it is absolutely safe. Please do not issue any wrong comment without having knowledge about a product which is internationally tried, tested and trusted for consumption.

  • varun says:

    ayyooo ente vayattil waxx kathunney….

  • mark woodward says:

    Reusable mugs have there place, but ideally should be washed in industrial dishwashers to make sure they are fully sterilized before use. The dishwasher needs to be checked regularly to make sure it is sterilizing mugs. For more information see http://www.thepapercupcompany.co.uk/content_the_waste_hierarchy.php
    It should also be considered that even a china mug has a impact on the environment :-
    china clay pits – a scar on the landscape
    energy used in production
    energy used each time washed up
    environmental impact of washing up liquid – production
    environmental impact of washing up liquid – contaminated waste water.
    at the end of its life, the china mug will still go to land fill.
    These kinds of conversation are very important, the more people consider the environmental impact of everything we do, the better. Keep the discussions going.

  • messiah says:

    geniuses, engineers,outsourcers, wake up!
    http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/noodles.asp


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