Composition Of Styrofoam Cups

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composition of styrofoam cupsStyrofoam is a common name in modern western society. This product is used in egg cartons, take-out boxes, packaging, utensils and especially in disposal cups and plates. The usage of styrene container is vast.

In United States approx 25 billion Styrofoam cups are used each year.These cups are really very convenient as they are lightweight and durable. Styrofoam is actually made of polystyrene which is a petroleum-based plastic. According to the experts, Styrofoam can create negative effects on human health and environment.

When heated in microwave oven toxic chemicals leach out of the cups and containers made of Styrofoam into liquid or food. Styrofoam includes some chemical compositions such as styrene, benzene, and ethylene molecules. Blowing agents are also present in it.


Benzene, a composition which is extracted from coal, is included in Styrofoam cups. The styrene gets converted into polystyrene with the help of Benzene. It is colorless and clear liquid. In the production of polystyrene the major percentage of all extracted benzene is used each year.

This chemical composition is also known as carcinogen. High amount of this liquid can be responsible for critical diseases such as hodgkin’s disease and leukemia. Through skin or respiratory system the molecule can easily be entered in the human body. According to the health experts, benzene can really be dangerous for human health. But its composition in Styrofoam cups is really negligible.

Styrene And Ethylene

Styrene is an oily liquid which is also included in Styrofoam cups. It is extracted from petroleum. The exposure to this chemical can create critical effects on human body. These harmful effects include lung cancer, decreased female fertility, fetal damage, learning difficulties and imbalance.

Ethylene is one of the major compositions in Styrofoam. This is actually a colorless gas. In the production of Styrofoam, ethylene is used as a refrigerant. It plays the role of a blowing agent here. It is not considered as toxic but flammable in its gaseous phase.


HCFCs and CFCs are the major blowing agents that are used in the production of Styrofoam. Before some decades CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) were injected into the polystyrene. Day by day the deep relationship between global warming and CFCs was proved.

The random usage of Styrofoam container and cups created many bad effects on environment. That is why the experts decided to replace CFCs with HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon). According to the scientists, the negative effects of HCFCs on environment is lesser than CFCs. Side by side it is also true that HCFCs can also affect the environment from various aspects.

Harmful Effects Of Styrofoam Cups

All the compositions of Styrofoam cups are really very harmful not only for the human health but also for the environment. The ozone layer gets affected by the usage of this synthetic material. The containers and cups made of this Styrofoam are hard to recycle.

People should eliminate usage of these containers and cups. So it is best to use non-petroleum based alternatives as these can provide chemically safer environment and reduce pollutants. Postrecycled paper, bamboo, corn plastics are chemical-free and renewable. People should be conscious about the harmful compositions that are included in Styrofoam cups.

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