Styrofoam is bad for the environment because it does not dissolve. It may stay in the land fill for over 400 years or more. Sometimes the Styrofoam can kill fish and animals in the ocean. The Styrofoam breaks down into little pieces and the wind carries it away to the sea. It floats on the surface of the water and the fish think that it is food so they eat it, this may cause sickness. The fish cannot digest the Styrofoam so they die. Styrofoam can also cause sickness for us. When you drink out of a Styrofoam cup, the Polystyrene (the molecule of Styrofoam) can remove from the cup and dissolve into the liquid that you drink. Even if you drink a small portion of the polystyrene, that can cause fatigue, down-syndrome and even cancer.
Each year Americans throw away 1,369 tons of Styrofoam products every day. The NYC school system alone throws away 150 million Styrofoam meal trays annually.
Styrofoam is a notorious pollutant that is very difficult to recycle due to its light weight and low scrap value. It is generally not accepted in curbside programs, is seldom able to be reused, takes up a considerable amount of space in landfills, and takes a very long time to fully decompose. Due to the physical properties of polystyrene, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that “such materials can have serious impacts on human health, wildlife, and the aquatic environment” because the product breaks down and can clog waterways or be mistaken for food by wildlife.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer lists styrene as a possible human carcinogen, though this conclusion is primarily based on studies of workers in styrene-related chemical plants. The Vallombrosa Consensus Statement on Environmental Contaminants and Human Fertility Compromise includes styrene on its list of contaminants of possible concern, noting that even weak estrogen mimics can combine with other such chemicals to have negative effects even when the chemicals are individually present at levels that would have no impact. On the positive side, a 2005 expert panel convened by the National Institutes of Health concluded that there is negligible concern for developmental toxicity in embryos and babies.
Studies suggest that styrene mimics estrogen in the body and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities, and other hormone-related problems, as well as breast cancer and prostate cancer. The estrogenicity of styrene is thought to be comparable to that of Bisphenol A, another potent estrogen mimic from the world of plastics.
Long-term exposure to small quantities of styrene is also suspected of causing: