Even the more expensive brands contain some of the most toxic substances. Is using these cups harmful to us chemically? 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. 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. It determined that Styrofoam drinking cups leach Styrofoam into the liquids they contain. “This is a problem, because polystyrene is very commonly used as disposable packaging for hot food and beverages” — and has been for many years! Some of these chemicals have been linked to health problems such as metabolic disorders (including obesity) and reduced fertility. When you drink your steaming cup of coffee or spoon your chicken noodle soup or chili out of a Styrofoam cup, you also take in small doses of chemicals that leach from it. 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. Health Effects. 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 substance is not safe for use in the U.S. since 2004 due to health concerns. Because polystyrene products are so common, many people assume they are safe, and that a government agency, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), would not allow a health- threatening product to be marketed to the public. A lot of people assume that Styrofoam must be safe since it's often what our takeaway comes in… wrong! It is also very brittle, and can break into small pieces that are easy for animals to eat. It is broadly used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, and rubber. The National Resources Defense Council notes that polystyrene foam from coffee cups and other food containers are clogging landfills and turning up in the ocean, where sea birds and marine animals swallow it. CD and DVD cases, foam packaging peanuts for shipping, food packaging, meat/poultry trays and egg cartons typically are made with polystyrene to protect against damage or spoilage. Originally published May 16, 2011. Formaldehyde on the skin may irritate the nose, eye, and throat. You can recognize styrene foam cups at a glance. These effects include. Spray-polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, growing in popularity, is under scrutiny from EPA. 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. Your submission has been received! Updated by Paula Melton June 1, 2018. 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. This, too, will pass, I know, but a recent US Department of Health and Human Services report provides greater cause for concern. This, too, will pass, I know, but a recent US Department of Health and Human Services report provides greater cause for concern. Foam is lightweight and is easily blown by wind or washed away by rain into water sources. Styrene, for example, is the foundational ingredient used to make polystyrene. Given no testing was conducted only time will tell on how effects of their use impact human health. The primary health concern from the inhalation of carbon black involves the respiratory system. Health concerns of memory foam. Styrene, for example, is the foundational ingredient used to make polystyrene. Composed of 95% air, Styrofoam is incredibly light. Styrene (a component of polystyrene) is a harmful chemical that can leech into food and drink. Formaldehyde: formaldehyde is not common in mattress usage. EPA Raises Health Concerns with Spray Foam Insulation. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Polystyrene (solid and foam) is widely used to protect consumer products. Short-term exposure to styrene can cause eye, mucous membrane, and gastrointestinal irritation . 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. by Tristan Roberts. 1. 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. 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. It is broadly used in the manufacture of plastics, resins, and rubber. The end result is that the styrene foam containers blow away, often into the ocean, where they don’t disintegrate. They are also present in fire-fighting foams (or aqueous film forming foam; AFFF) used by both civilian and military firefighters. More commonly known as Styrofoam, polystyrene is a petroleum based plastic commonly used for crafts, packing and insulation. 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. Styrofoam isn't just bad for the environment; it's bad for your health. Styrofoam isn't just bad for the environment; it's bad for your health. 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. 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. 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. It all adds up… so now, are you willing to accept toxic industrial chemicals in your soup? 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. Annually, around 2.3 billion kilograms of Styrofoam end up in our landfills and waterways. 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. 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… cups since you landed here. 90,000 workers are exposed to Styrene every year, causing variuos health issues. What happens when you eat hot foods or drink liquids from styrofoam plates and cups is the styrene leaches out of the Styrofoam and into our bodies. Direct toxicity, as in the cases of lead, cadmium, and mercury; Carcinogens, as in the case of diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) The cups apparently lose weight during the time they are at use. Styrofoam’s Durability Is Bad for the Environment and for Humans. Spray-polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, growing in popularity, is under scrutiny from EPA. You would be doing the environment (and possibly your health) a favor by reducing use of containers made with polystyrene. or Healthy Lifestyle Brands. Styrofoam is made from the plastic polystyrene, which is based on building blocks called styrene monomers. Using your own coffee cup or mugs for your drinks and your own containers for foods is better for the planet. Styrene causes lung tumors in several strains of mice. Styrofoam manufacture also uses hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which … What's a homeowner or builder to do? Styrene poses the greatest danger to humans who are exposed to it in the workplace. Updated by Paula Melton June 1, 2018. Styrofoam pollution is a major environmental threat. Polystyrene, commonly referred to as Styrofoam™, is extremely difficult to dispose of properly, and it releases dangerous styrene into virtually all living creatures. According to the EPA: “Homeowners who are exposed to isocyanates and other spray foam chemicals in vapours, aerosols, and dust during or after the installation process “run the risk of developing asthma, sensitization, lung damage, other respiratory and breathing problems, and skin and eye irritation." 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).. Environmental & Social Issues Impacts and Risks of Polystyrene. Styrene has also been linked to nerve damage and hormonal disruption. Now she and her roommates subsist on salty soups in Styrofoam containers that they heat in the communal microwave. 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. Styrene (a component of polystyrene) is a harmful chemical that can leech into food and drink. ©Copyright 2021 Healthy Lifestyle Brands, LLC. 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. Then, too, every day we are bombarded with a multitude of toxins in the environment. It's finally warm and cookout season is upon us. As for recycling the material, some recyclers won’t take foam containers because they’re so light – the profit in recycling is calculated by weight. Something went wrong while submitting the form. A small minority of spray foam customers have experienced problems: Spray Foam Jobs With Lingering Odor Problems. Oops! Research suggests that these chemicals may have negative environmental and health effects. Thank you! But styrene, the chemical building block of polystyrene foam, is linked to an array of health problems. 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. Eye Health: Top Doc’s Integrated Approach, Face Value: Investing in Metals and Money. 246 workers today. 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. What's a homeowner or builder to do? Environmental health concerns start with the elements used to make Styrofoam. “Evidence indicates that all blowing agents currently used or proposed in connection with the manufact… They are persistent (i.e., they do not break down) in the environment, and si… Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals found in many products, such as clothing, carpets, fabrics for furniture, adhesives, paper packaging for food, and heat-resistant/non-stick cookware. The EWG is a nonprofit, research-based organization dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. kg since you landed here. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, spray polyurethane foam can have significant health effects when installed into a personal indoor environment. 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. Customer Care |  Privacy Policy |  Terms and Conditions |  About Us, Copyright © 2021 Bottom Line Inc. 3 Landmark Square Suite 201 Stamford, CT 06901 After a tough winter, I’m sure everyone will be taking every opportunity to soak up the sun and enjoy the warmth! Environmental health concerns start with the elements used to make Styrofoam. Polystyrene foam's light weight and insulation properties also make it a favorite choice for cups, plates and bowls at family picnics. “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. EPA Raises Health Concerns with Spray Foam Insulation. 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. All rights reserved. www.drweil.com. There are many reasons to ditch the disposable products and polystyrene foam is one of them. 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. Get The Latest Health, Life & Money Trends. Studies have found that certain chemicals in plastic can leach out of the plastic and into the food and beverages we eat. Public Contamination. In recent years, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation has become increasingly popular in both residential and commercial construction. Any third party offering or advertising on this website does not constitute an endorsement by Andrew Weil, M.D. The Dangers of Using Spray Foam Insulation. In honor of the warm weather, you may be stocking up on all your disposable plates, tables cloths, utensils. 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. 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. Polystyrene foam cups contain styrene – a chemical compound that is increasingly suspect. 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! 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". Start your 14-day free trial now – and start eating anti-inflammatory today! Styrene causes lung tumors in several strains of mice. by Tristan Roberts. A hard version of polystyrene is used to make plastic cutlery, yogurt and cottage cheese containers, cups and clear salad bar containers. Olga Naidenko, PhD, senior scientist, Environmental Working Group, Washington, DC. Styrofoam poses serious health concerns for aquatic life and the general health of the planet, which is no surprise, given that it’s made of thousands of pieces of non-biodegradable plastic. When volatile organic compound in the mattresses break down and release chemicals into the air, it is called off-gassing. Spray foam is a two-component chemical system: Part A and Part B. To find out whether other food containers are made with polystyrene, look for the number 6 inside the recycling symbol. 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. 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'. A lot of people assume that Styrofoam must be safe since it's often what our takeaway comes in… wrong! 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. 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. I do recycle the cups. The compounds are also a concern in the dust created when the product is trimmed. 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. Are many reasons to ditch the disposable products and polystyrene foam is lightweight and is easily by... Irritate the nose, eye, mucous membrane, and throat your soup ’ m sure will. This substance is not common in mattress usage leach out of the polystyrene! 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