Polystyrene foam, commonly known by its trade name, Styrofoam, has few defenders in this modern age of scientific research and public consciousness about health and environmental protection.
It is manufactured with a greenhouse gas that depletes the ozone shield ten miles or higher in the sky and the manufacturing process creates large amounts of liquid and solid waste.
Cheap and convenient, it is used as cups, plates, egg crates, meat trays and food containers, leeching styrene into food. Scientists have found that foam cups lose weight during use, meaning styrene is ingested by the consumer. Volatile styrene monomers have been found in egg shells after eggs were stored for two weeks in polystyrene containers. Styrene has been found in 100 per cent of human tissue samples and human nursing milk samples tested. Long term exposure to small quantities can cause, among other things, fatigue, nervousness, sleeping difficulties, low platelet and haemoglobin values and increase in carcinogens.