Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
January 2001, No.141


DOUTOR Coffee Cups Found to Have the Highest Levels of Styren


DOUTOR Coffee Cups Found to Have the Highest Levels of Styren
If you buy take-out coffee and other hot drinks, beware! The materials being used in disposable cups can be harmful, and according to JOF findings,"Doutor Coffee" cups are the worst in terms of styrene. Other stores also use cups made of styrene, a chemical known as carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, and a cause of learning disability in children. Styrene has been found to leach from containers into foods and drinks, particularly when heated. Check out stores where you shop and let the owners and managers know what you think.

Safety Evaluation of Take-out Cups
BAD Excelsior Doutor Coffee
BAD Doutor Doutor Coffee
BAD BECK's JR East Japan Restaurant
SO SO Cafe Veloce Chat Noir


Japan Restaurant Enterprise
SO SO Starbucks Starbucks Coffee Japan
Almost okay Cafe de Crie

Pocca Create

Almost okay McDonald's Japan McDonald's
Almost okay Mos Burger Mos Food Service
Okay! Subway Japan Subway

(styrene, caps made of styrene with drinking hole, paper cups, paper cups with outside coated with styren, PP cap)

At "Excelsior Cafe, both cups and caps are made of styrene. In addition, there is a small hole in the cap to allow customers to drink from the cup with the cap on. Using this type of cap, customers may intake styrene directly from the edge of the hole, as well as indirectly, if styrene has leached out of the cup and cap into the hot liquid. Since chain stores "Doutor" and "BECK's" use styrene in both their cups and caps, it is recommended not to take out hot drinks from "Excelsior Cafe", "Doutor" and "Becks."

Some stores in Japan, such as the popular "Starbucks" chain, "Cafe Veloce", and "Sundine" use paper cups, which do not pose any risk of leaching styrene; unfortunately, however, they use styrene caps. To make matters worse, these caps have drinking holes. Whenever customers drink directly from such caps, they are exposed to possible styrene intake. One would expect that especially "Sandine," which sells organic coffee, would be more cautious of styrene- but was not.

"Cafe de Crie," "McDonald's" and "Mos Burger" use cups with outside covered with a soft material made of styrene. Since the material is not used inside the cup, styrene do not leach into the contents of the cups. Though, these three shops use styrene caps(without drinking holes.) Nevertheless, the risk remains that styrene may leach from the caps into drinks when hot liquids are carried in the cups.

Among the chain shops JOF researched, "Subway" apparently offers the safest cups. Although the outside of its cups are coated with styrene, it uses paper cups with no coating inside, and caps made of PP(polypropyrene) that are much safer than those made with styrene. For the time being, takeout coffee from "Subway" seems to be your safest bet. As for flavor, we'll leave that research up to you.

"Doutor" and "Excelsior Cafe" changed their cups from styrene to paper in May 2002.


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