March 10 – Say NO to Styrofoam

‘I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.” ~ Jeremiah 2 :7

Styrofoam is one of the most used packaging methods in the food industry. It is convenient, cheap, and provides excellent conditions for storage of food and beverages. Styrofoam is a disposable product made of polystyrene, which is a petroleum-based plastic. Styrofoam has more harmful effects as compared to its convenience. There is a need to inform people about the environmental and health impacts it poses on people and the planet. The harms from plastic Styrofoam mainly are:

Environmental Impacts

Polystyrene is non-biodegradable. A Styrofoam cup can take as long as 500 years to decompose completely.

Recycling Styrofoam is very expensive, it is usually disposed of, taking up a lot of space in landfills, even more than paper, and may eventually re-enter the environment when landfills are breached.

Styrofoam is harmful for the environment because it is made with petroleum, a non-renewable resource which contributes to air pollution and climate change.

When not disposed in a proper manner, Styrofoam can contribute to flooding by clogging drains.

When Styrofoam enters our waterways, it can be ingested by aquatic animals, thus harming or killing them.

Health Impacts

Polystyrene, the main material in Styrofoam, contains the substances Styrene and Benzene, which are both considered carcinogens (cancer causing) and neurotoxins that are extremely hazardous to human health.

Hot foods or liquids, alcohols, oils and acidic foods start a partial breakdown of Styrofoam, causing some toxins to be released into our foods, which, when eaten, are absorbed into our bloodstream.

According to studies, women exposed to styrene vapours have demonstrated menstrual disorders, and suffered from metabolic disturbances occurring during pregnancy.

Other health impacts include: Irritation of the skin; irritation of the eyes; irritation of the upper respiratory tract; Gastrointestinal problems; and affects kidney function

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