The extruded polystyrene foam, or colloquially known as styrofoam, is everywhere. Nonetheless, it being ubiquitous does not mean it is safe. Perhaps people just got used to it and thought of it as part of their everyday life.
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Since styro is 98% air and 2% polystyrene, a minimum of 100 degrees Celsius is enough to separate the air and toxic produce carcinogens and neurotoxins, which are dangerous to humans. Hence, when food is heated in a styro container, it gets contaminated by substances called styrene and benzene, which may lead to irritation of the stomach, convulsions, coma, and death. Even the FDA warns the Americans on purchasing instant food with non-microwave-safe labels because these can cause different life-threatening illnesses.
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Styrofoam in the environment
Extruded polystyrene foam takes more than 200 years to decompose because it is non-biodegradable and a non-renewable source—a valid reason why most landfills in the world are chiefly comprised of unrecyclable plastics and polystyrene foams. However, eliminating polystyrene is becoming more and more difficult every day, since the entire global commercial industry is dependent on this cheap and practical packaging material. In a larger scope, the chlorofluorocarbons present in all extruded polystyrene products have the capacity that is more powerful than carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to destroy the already-deteriorating ozone layer and worsen global warming.
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Styrofoam and such hazardous materials may rank atop Janique Goff’s list of things to campaign against. Visit this MySpace page for her latest activities.