FAQ: How Safe Is Polystyrene Insulation?

Traditional Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) EPS insulation has traditionally contained the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) which is highly toxic, persistent in the environment, and bioaccumulative. Much EPS insulation has transitioned away from HBCD, but some insulation may still contain it.

Is polystyrene toxic to humans?

Polystyrene foam contains likely cancer-causing chemicals that can leach into the food and drinks they hold, making them dangerous to consumers. Heating up polystyrene foam containers can cause the styrene to leach into the food or drinks. This toxin has no place in our bodies, schools, restaurants or homes.

What are the disadvantages of polystyrene?

Disadvantages of Polystyrene include:

  • Brittle, poor chemical resistance especially to organics.
  • Susceptible to UV degradation.
  • Flammable.

Is polystyrene bad for your lungs?

Skin, Eyes and Lung Irritation Exposure to polystyrene dust as a result of cutting Styrofoam can result in skin, eye and lung irritation. Itchy eyes and skin and difficulty breathing can result from chronic exposure to Styrofoam dust.

Why is polystyrene so bad?

Styrene (a component of polystyrene) is a harmful chemical that can leech into food and drink. Even worse, styrene is classified as a carcinogen to humans according to the National Research Council. Back in 1986, a study by the EPA detected Styrene in 100% of human tissue and breast milk samples.

Are polystyrene fumes toxic?

Polystyrene is biologically inert – so microorganisms have a a really hard time eating it. But burning polystyrene releases large amounts of Carbon Monoxide, along with Styrene and a slew of other toxic chemical compounds into the environment which are known to be hazardous to our health.

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What temperature does Styrofoam Leach?

(2008) found styrene concentrations ranging from 45 to 293 ppb in water under leaching conditions of 24–80°C for 30 min in a polystyrene cup.

Why should we not use Styrofoam?

It is a ‘ known hazardous substance. ‘ Like all plastics, Styrofoam is a petrochemical; it comes from petroleum, which is known to cause developmental, hematological, renal, and immunological disorders. Styrofoam is also made up of other hazardous chemicals, such as benzene.

What are the limits of polystyrene?

However, polystyrene has several limitations. It is attacked by hydrocarbon solvents, has poor oxygen and UV resistance, and is rather brittle, i.e. it has poor impact strength due to the stiffness of the polymer backbone.

Is polystyrene a good insulator?

Polystyrene and plastic foam are both used as insulators as they have small air bubbles trapped inside them. This makes them very good insulators because heat energy can’t flow through them. The same idea is used to keep the inside of buildings warm.

Is Styrofoam worse than plastic?

Insulation. Styrofoam insulates much more effectively than plastic, which means your cold drinks stay colder longer and your hot drinks stay hotter. Plastic cups are not recommended for hot drinks, and they do not have the insulation properties of Styrofoam.

Is Styrofoam safe to inhale?

Symptoms for short-term exposure include mild coughing or irritation of the eyes or throat. Long-term exposure has shown a higher occurrence of lung issues like bronchitis, scarring, chronic cough or reduction in lung function. The dust is so fine, it is easily inhaled and causes respiratory issues.

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How poisonous is Styrofoam?

Toxicity: Styrofoam is considered non-toxic when eaten. Expected symptoms: No symptoms are anticipated when a piece of styrofoam is accidentally ingested, but large pieces can cause choking. What to do: Give your child a drink of water to wash the styrofoam down to the stomach.

Why did McDonald’s stop using Styrofoam?

It stopped using foam packaging for hot beverages in 2012 after receiving pressure from As You Sow, a nonprofit that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility. The only remaining foam used in McDonald’s stores today is for cold beverages.

What are the waste problems associated with polystyrene foam?

Styrene is the building block for Styrofoam, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists styrene as a “probable carcinogen to humans”. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Styrofoam is commonly contaminated with flame-retardant chemicals that can leach into the environment and harm human health.

What is the difference between Styrofoam and polystyrene?

Styrofoam is a form of polystyrene. The key difference between polystyrene and Styrofoam is that the polystyrene is a form of synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon polymer whereas the Styrofoam is a commercial brand of polystyrene.