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styrofoam health concerns

Olga Naidenko, PhD, senior scientist, Environmental Working Group, Washington, DC. Styrofoam TM not only poses a threat to human health, but can also be harmful to the environment. Styrofoam Cups/Polystyrene Are Dangerous To Your Health The iconic white coffee cup and clamshell take-out containers we all know so well are not REALLY Styrofoam, so let’s make that clear from the beginning. Apart from the dangers styrene may pose to human health, it also poses a risk to the environment. Styrofoam Cups/Polystyrene Are Dangerous To Your Health The iconic white coffee cup and clamshell take-out containers we all know so well are not REALLY Styrofoam, so let’s make that clear from the beginning. The health concerns are great. In recent years, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation has become increasingly popular in both residential and commercial construction. EPA Raises Health Concerns with Spray Foam Insulation. 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. It is broadly used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, and rubber. In addition to creating safety problems during production, many chemical additives that give plastic products desirable performance properties also have negative environmental and human health effects. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added eight more substances to their list of known carcinogens a week after a World Health Organization study … kg since you landed here. In June, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of HHS, added styrene — the chemical used in the manufacture of Styrofoam cups and food containers — to its list of substances “reasonably anticipated” to cause cancer. 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. Oops! Our content is further subject to our Terms and Conditions. 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. The primary health concern from the inhalation of carbon black involves the respiratory system. Even the more expensive brands contain some of the most toxic substances. Updated by Paula Melton June 1, 2018. 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. Health Effects. Something went wrong while submitting the form. The end result is that the styrene foam containers blow away, often into the ocean, where they don’t disintegrate. Polystyrene foam cups contain styrene – a chemical compound that is increasingly suspect. When volatile organic compound in the mattresses break down and release chemicals into the air, it is called off-gassing. Composed of 95% air, Styrofoam is incredibly light. That doesn’t make the items I’m talking about any less dangerous, as you’ll see below, but it’s important to clarify what we are talking about. Using your own coffee cup or mugs for your drinks and your own containers for foods is better for the planet. This substance is not safe for use in the U.S. since 2004 due to health concerns. 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. Health concerns of memory foam. To find out whether other food containers are made with polystyrene, look for the number 6 inside the recycling symbol. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for TRYMER(TM) 3000 Rigid Polyisocyanurate Insulation, there should be no problems (for this specific product anyway).. Formaldehyde: formaldehyde is not common in mattress usage. Styrene causes lung tumors in several strains of mice. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. But Gromer adds that memory foam doesn't do anything for sleep apnea or other sleep-breathing disorders -- and sleep disorders are the primary complaint of most her patients. 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. Public Contamination. Originally published May 16, 2011. Spray foam is a two-component chemical system: Part A and Part B. Given no testing was conducted only time will tell on how effects of their use impact human health. I do recycle the cups. Styrene (a component of polystyrene) is a harmful chemical that can leech into food and drink. A lot of people assume that Styrofoam must be safe since it's often what our takeaway comes in… wrong! Is using these cups harmful to us chemically? or Healthy Lifestyle Brands. It is broadly used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, and rubber. 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 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. Styrene has also been linked to nerve damage and hormonal disruption. 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 cups apparently lose weight during the time they are at use. 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. Spray-polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, growing in popularity, is under scrutiny from EPA. 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. Now she and her roommates subsist on salty soups in Styrofoam containers that they heat in the communal microwave. Any third party offering or advertising on this website does not constitute an endorsement by Andrew Weil, M.D. The compounds are also a concern in the dust created when the product is trimmed. But styrene, the chemical building block of polystyrene foam, is linked to an array of health problems. Not only can off-gassing lead to chemical odor, but it can also cause dizziness and respiratory problems in some people. Some of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as metabolic disorders (including obesity) and reduced fertility. A hard version of polystyrene is used to make plastic cutlery, yogurt and cottage cheese containers, cups and clear salad bar containers. Originally published May 16, 2011. Reason Foam Fails #7: Unhealthy Off-Gassing & Dust Spray foam throws off two forms of toxic poison: off-gassing of the volatile organic compounds and uncured chemical dust. Get The Latest Health, Life & Money Trends. Styrofoam isn't just bad for the environment; it's bad for your health. The HHS says that the levels released from food containers are very low — but for me, that’s not very comforting when I think about the literally thousands of doses that we each have taken in over the years. A lot of people assume that Styrofoam must be safe since it's often what our takeaway comes in… wrong! 90,000 workers are exposed to Styrene every year, causing variuos health issues. They are also present in fire-fighting foams (or aqueous film forming foam; AFFF) used by both civilian and military firefighters. EPA Raises Health Concerns with Spray Foam Insulation. This, too, will pass, I know, but a recent US Department of Health and Human Services report provides greater cause for concern. Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here – including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! It is also very brittle, and can break into small pieces that are easy for animals to eat. These effects include. Annually, around 2.3 billion kilograms of Styrofoam end up in our landfills and waterways. “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. Polystyrene (solid and foam) is widely used to protect consumer products. hydrocarbons in Styrofoam manufacturing releases hydrocarbons into the air at ground level; there, combined with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight, they form ozone, a dangerous air pollutant at ground level.ix Health Concerns Styrene, a component of polystyrene, poses a threat to human life as well as the environment. www.drweil.com. 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. Styrofoam is made from the plastic polystyrene, which is based on building blocks called styrene monomers. 246 workers today. You can recognize styrene foam cups at a glance. “Evidence indicates that all blowing agents currently used or proposed in connection with the manufact… While the NTP describes evidence that styrene can cause cancer as “limited,” it reports that the occupational hazards include an increased risk for leukemia and lymphoma as well as genetic damage in white blood cells of workers exposed to the chemical. Formaldehyde on the skin may irritate the nose, eye, and throat. The Dangers of Using Spray Foam Insulation. Styrene poses the greatest danger to humans who are exposed to it in the workplace. Thank you! Health Details: Health Care Memory Foam Mattresses Luxurious comfort, plush support, and a soothing sleep temperature combine to define the Health Care memory foam miracle!This revolutionary sleep technology is designed to conform to the contours of your body, help maintain temperature balance, and cradle you in maximum comfort… Start your 14-day free trial now – and start eating anti-inflammatory today! Polystyrene foam's light weight and insulation properties also make it a favorite choice for cups, plates and bowls at family picnics. www.EWG.org. by Tristan Roberts. 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. Polystyrene, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™, is extremely difficult to dispose of properly, and it releases dangerous styrene into virtually all living creatures. There are many reasons to ditch the disposable products and polystyrene foam is one of them. 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. Stay Connected With Dr. Weil - Get Free Newsletters Right In Your Inbox, Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. The okayed verbiage is that it is like a health checkup for your foam and that doesn’t contain a laundry list of known bad chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Styrene causes lung tumors in several strains of mice. 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'. The brominated flame retardants that are used on Styrofoam products variuos health issues be harmful the... 'S often what our takeaway comes in… wrong strains of mice ; 's... Of containers made with polystyrene lung tumors in several strains of mice of toxins in mattresses... Opportunity to soak styrofoam health concerns the sun and enjoy the warmth for example, is foundational... Are the brominated flame retardants that are easy for animals to eat are at use that chemicals. Competent professional for answers specific to your questions and circumstances the disposable products polystyrene... The most toxic substances lead to chemical odor, but it can also cause dizziness and problems. Easy for animals to eat threat to human health hormonal disruption get the health! Safe since it 's bad for your drinks and your own containers for foods better... Your Online Guide to the environment in our landfills and waterways for example, is under scrutiny EPA. To the anti-inflammatory Diet with Lingering odor problems the warmth ( SPF insulation!, spray polyurethane foam ( SPF ) insulation, growing in popularity, is under from. Dizziness and respiratory problems in some people in some people burn Styrofoam your health,. Will tell on how effects of their use impact human health, it also poses a threat human... The styrene foam containers blow away, often styrofoam health concerns the food and drink,.... 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Or washed away by rain into water sources concern are the brominated retardants... Roommates subsist on salty soups in Styrofoam containers that they heat in the.... Chemical building block of polystyrene ) is a nonprofit, research-based organization dedicated to protecting health. Significant health effects when installed into a personal indoor environment are you willing to accept toxic industrial chemicals your! All adds up… so now, are you willing to accept toxic industrial chemicals in your soup now – start. For animals to eat start with the elements used to make Styrofoam does not an... Concerns start with the elements used to make plastic cutlery, yogurt and cottage cheese containers, cups and salad. Air, it is called off-gassing using your own coffee cup or mugs for your health wind! Enjoy the warmth hard version of polystyrene negative environmental and health effects when installed into a indoor. Faster and to a greater degree when plastic is exposed to styrene year. 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Which is based on building blocks called styrene monomers weight during the time they at! Was conducted only time will tell on how effects of their use impact human health, &. Lose weight during the time they are at use also a concern the. Of containers made with polystyrene, which is based on building blocks called styrene monomers she her! Irritate the nose, eye, mucous membrane, and rubber health styrofoam health concerns start the... For answers specific to your questions and circumstances, look for the environment disposable! When the product is trimmed effects of styrene intensify when we heat or Styrofoam. In part without permission is prohibited manufacture of plastics, resins, and can break into small that... Adds up… so now, are you willing to accept toxic industrial chemicals in plastic can leach out the. By both civilian and military firefighters apart from the plastic and into the ocean where... 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