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