Originally Posted by kimcmich
Encyclia brings up a good point to consider. I have a few thoughts:
1) The studies concern styrene monomers and trimers - not the long chain polystyrenes of which styrofoam is built. Polystyrene is non-biodegradable but it can be degraded by sunlight. Even sunlight degradation, however, leads to small bits of polystyrene - not styrene itself. I think the concern over styrenes are more an issue of pollution from plastic manufacture rather than a problem with polystyrene itself. I will admit, however, that I have not found what I would consider to be "hard evidence" one way or the other.
Leaching and degradation aren't the same thing and degradation isn't required to get leaching. Regardless of the polymeric materials, your never going to get 100% of the material reacting to form the ideal end molecule. It is these shorter molecules that can end up leaching and you don't have to have degradation to release these molecule from the end product. Now the point here is that materials like non-food styrofoam and egg crate are forms of polystyrene and since they aren't for food usage, there is less oversight on how much those materials may leach styrene and other molecules.
Leaching from long-chain polystyrenes is well documented in the literature.
See Ahmad, Maqbool, and Ahmad S. Bajahlan. "Leaching of styrene and other aromatic compounds in drinking water from PS bottles." Journal of Environmental Sciences 19.4 (2007): 421-426.
Soto, Ana M., et al. "p-Nonyl-phenol: an estrogenic xenobiotic released from" modified" polystyrene." Environmental health perspectives 92 (1991): 167.
Rani, M., et al. "Leaching characteristics of hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) from expanded polystyrene buoy in water." Organohalogen Compounds 75 (2013): 691-694.
Sanagi, M. Marsin, et al. "Determination of residual volatile organic compounds migrated from polystyrene food packaging into food simulant by headspace solid phase microextraction–gas chromatography." The Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences 12.3 (2008): 542-551.
Originally Posted by kimcmich
I feel a bit like someone telling a pregnant woman that smoking one cigarette isn't going to hurt her baby: A single cigarette won't hurt her baby, it's true - but what will she think of me if she her baby is born with a a birth defect after she has that one cigarette?
The problem is that it is a statistical event and as a result you can't really say that one cigarette is going to hurt the child... if you could be sure the audience would understand it,you would be saying the chance one cigarette would hurt am unborn child all other risks normal, would be approaching zero. So while it is unlikely but there is always a chance that someone could get the bad draw/roll. Now this also means you can't point at what looks to be the bad roll and say it was definitely caused by smoking...
To some extent this is why I suggest that people use flow through systems where the water is drained and flushed from the system and discarded....