The EWG is a nonprofit, research-based organization dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Beyond that, styrene also has been associated with respiratory problems among workers exposed to it as well as with “styrene sickness,” a combination of headache, fatigue and feelings of drunkenness. The vast majority of spray foam customers are happy with their choice of insulation and report no negative health effects from living in a home insulated with spray foam. 1. Based on what we now know, you’re probably safe using styrene foam cups for cold drinks, but I wouldn’t use them for hot coffee or tea, and I would avoid using plastic containers for hot foods. Environmental health experts have questioned the assumption of spray foam’s safety and believe more research is necessary to prove that it isn’t hazardous to human health. In recent years, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation has become increasingly popular in both residential and commercial construction. The compounds are also a concern in the dust created when the product is trimmed. Using your own coffee cup or mugs for your drinks and your own containers for foods is better for the planet. I also found the MSDS of an example Expanded Polystyrene Board, which does mentions off-gas issues.Though it only applies to large amounts of "fresh" polystyrene, being stored in a "confined, unventilated area". Urethane foam is everywhere — it’s under your carpet, in your furniture and your bed, in your walls, on the soles of your shoes and in your athletic helmet. Environmental health concerns start with the elements used to make Styrofoam. The fact that styrene can adversely affect humans in a number of ways raises serious public health and safety questions regarding its build-up in human tissue. Something went wrong while submitting the form. Our content is further subject to our Terms and Conditions. Olga Naidenko, PhD, senior scientist, Environmental Working Group, Washington, DC. In the 12th edition of its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) stated that styrene is “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified styrene as a “possible human carcinogen.” However, in spite of these classifications, polystyrene foam continues to be widely used for coffee cups, egg cartons, and salad boxes as well as disposable bowls, plates and trays. Bottom Line, Inc. publishes the opinions of expert authorities in many fields These opinions are for educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be considered as either individual advice or as a substitute for legal, accounting, investment, medical and other professional services intended to suit your specific personal needs. This leaching can occur even faster and to a greater degree when plastic is exposed to heat. Any third party offering or advertising on this website does not constitute an endorsement by Andrew Weil, M.D. 246 workers today. “Trace amounts of styrene as well as various chemical additives in polystyrene migrate into food, which increases significantly in hot liquids,” explains Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org). More energy efficient than traditional fiberglass insulation, SPF insulation is used to create a moisture and vapor barrier in perimeter walls, crawl spaces and attics. Reducing exposure to cancer-causing agents is something we all want, but it takes knowledge and action on each person’s part to achieve that. It is used in the manufacture of a wide array of products, everything from boats, car and truck parts, to bath tubs and shower stalls with glass fiber-reinforced polyester composite plastics. Even the more expensive brands contain some of the most toxic substances. www.EWG.org. Thank you! Public Contamination. A hard version of polystyrene is used to make plastic cutlery, yogurt and cottage cheese containers, cups and clear salad bar containers. It determined that Styrofoam drinking cups leach Styrofoam into the liquids they contain. Health Effects. These health issues can include lung damage, asthma, sensitization, respiratory and breathing problems… Styrofoam TM not only poses a threat to human health, but can also be harmful to the environment. Styrofoam contains the chemical styrene, which has been linked to cancer, vision and hearing loss, impaired memory and concentration, and nervous system effectsthe list goes on. “It is in the interest of the health, safety, and welfare of all who live, work, and do business in the City that the amount of litter on the public streets, parks, public places, and open spaces be reduced.” 2. They are persistent (i.e., they do not break down) in the environment, and si… You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. Styrene has also been linked to nerve damage and hormonal disruption. kg since you landed here. Styrene, for example, is the foundational ingredient used to make polystyrene. The cups apparently lose weight during the time they are at use. My niece is a college student, and forget about the healthy snacks that my sister once plied her with — frozen blueberries, raw carrots and peppers, Greek yogurt. Styrene isn’t known to leach out of hard plastics, but some evidence suggests that it can leach out of foam food containers and cups when food or drinks are hot – not when they’re cold. Composed of 95% air, Styrofoam is incredibly light. Formaldehyde: formaldehyde is not common in mattress usage. This substance is not safe for use in the U.S. since 2004 due to health concerns. Updated by Paula Melton June 1, 2018. Another cause for concern are the brominated flame retardants that are used on Styrofoam products. There can be a cough and slight changes in lung activity, but there is no known correlation between carbon black and cancer or any other body systems. The National Research Council in the U.S. says styrene - the key chemical component of foam cups and disposable food containers - can be 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen'. It is also very brittle, and can break into small pieces that are easy for animals to eat. Styrene causes lung tumors in several strains of mice. My husband and I like to have iced green tea during the day and use insulating foam cups because they keep the tea colder longer and do not sweat. Styrofoam isn't just bad for the environment; it's bad for your health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, of the nearly 20 million pounds of waste styrene generated annually, about 17.8 million pounds winds up in the air and 1.7 million pounds gets into surface waters. What's a homeowner or builder to do? Health Care Mattress | Quality Memory Foam Products. “Evidence indicates that all blowing agents currently used or proposed in connection with the manufact… Short-term exposure to styrene can cause eye, mucous membrane, and gastrointestinal irritation . “This is a problem, because polystyrene is very commonly used as disposable packaging for hot food and beverages” — and has been for many years! Polystyrene, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™, is extremely difficult to dispose of properly, and it releases dangerous styrene into virtually all living creatures. Given no testing was conducted only time will tell on how effects of their use impact human health Life. 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