In my previous post about the worse trail marker ever alot of people posted or emailed me “why is Styrofoam bad?” I think I personally took for granted that everyone knew about the ill’s of Styrofoam so I thought I would dedicate a post to telling you it’s hazards.
Styrofoam which was created by Dow Chemicals in the 1970’s as a insulation device. Hamburgers, coffee cups, even house hold construction products were made out of Styrofoam (actually the Dow trademark name for styrene). The production of Styrofoam products used CFC’s. The use of CFC’s was banned in 1989 so many companies stopped using products made with Styrofoam including McDonald’s (voluntarily). Production methods changed so there was no longer CFC pollution in production but many of it’s ill effects remained.
Styrofoam does not breakdown easily and it releases chemicals when it gets wet that contaminates water that touches it thus contaminating the water supply. The following fact I already knew but I had to find it online to get that actual particulars (you will be shocked, I think about it everytime I get food in a Styrofoam container):
By 1986, styrene was found in 100 percent of all samples of human fat tissue taken as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Human Tissue Survey. Researchers found that Styrofoam cups lose weight when in use, meaning that styrene is oozing into the foods and drinks we consume. It then ends up stored in our fatty tissue, where it can build up to levels that can cause fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, blood abnormalities, and even carcinogenic effects.
There is also the question as to whether Styrofoam can be recycled. It can be but alot of recycling plants do not accept it because of the cost involved. Here are some other facts about Styrofoam recycling:
- Polystyrene recycling is not “closed loop” – collected polystyrene cups are not remanufactured into cups, but into other products, such as packing filler and cafeteria trays. This means that more resources will have to be used, and more pollution created, to produce more polystyrene cups.
-“Plastics Industry Grasps for Straws,” Everyone’s Backyard, January/February 1990, Citizen’s Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, p. 6.
What are the real health effects of eating and drinking food from Styrofoam containers:
World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Long-term exposure to small quantities of styrene is also suspected of causing:
– low platelet counts or hemoglobin values;
— chromosomal and lymphatic abnormalities;
— neurotoxic effects due to accumulation of styrene in the tissues of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, resulting in fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and other acute or chronic health problems associated with the nervous system.
Because many of these effects can be more pronounced on developing bodies, extra caution is advisable for women who are pregnant (or considering becoming so) and for prepubescent children.
And now I will take it a step further… Dunkin Donuts!! They are probably the single biggest food producer that creates Styrofoam waste! 3 billion Styrofoam cups are purchased and disposed of each year in the US from customers of Dunkin Donuts!! If after reading all of this you want to tell Dunkin Donuts to change their cups here is the website to tell them click here.
if you want to send them an old fashion letter or call them:
Dunkin’ Donuts Consumer Care
130 Royall Street
Canton, MA 02021
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