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Old 08-29-2004, 11:45 PM
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Default Safety of styrofoam?

In the past, I've used shaped styrofoam for hobby applications and I was wondering if it is safe to use in a terrarium. I speaking specifically of the thick panels (appr. 2") available at home depot. I was thinking of using them as a base to build a water course in the terrarium I'm working on. I'd use the black silicone/ coco mix to cover the sides and use gravel siliconed in place along the waterway bed. Also thinking of using it on the back of the tank. Any thoughts? Thanks again.

George
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Old 08-29-2004, 11:48 PM
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i tink it would be safe imean its not like styrofoams poisonous or anytin
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Old 08-30-2004, 02:50 AM
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Just make sure you seal the edges. Those little styrofoam balls are a pain.
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:58 AM
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Try to get foamular(i think thats it) its pink here, not sure if they have it that thick, but no balls, no mess. Its solid foam.
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:54 PM
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The little styrofoam balls wont be a problem. I've got a foam cutter used by model railroad hobbiest that plugs into the wall and uses a heated nichrome wire to cut through the styrofoam like a hot knife through butter and sealing it as it goes. Works great.

George
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Old 08-31-2004, 03:19 AM
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I use the same foam cutter and it works fine, I also found this as well as other techniques used ib model RR can be used. I have N scale but use a lot of rock molds as well.

Scott
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Old 08-31-2004, 04:29 AM
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I use the 3/4" thick panelling along with 1" size PVC couplings for false bottoms without a problem. I also use it as well to create partial false bottoms that include a pumped water feature. Any 'balls' created from cutting I vacuum.

Jon Werner
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:46 AM
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Unhappy Re: Safety of styrofoam?

okay, now I'm confused. I posted a thread on which i constructed a palu using styrofoam and had two different members say that it would be harmful an amphibian because it is an endocrine inhibitor. :?
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:59 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

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Originally Posted by juliana maria View Post
okay, now I'm confused. I posted a thread on which i constructed a palu using styrofoam and had two different members say that it would be harmful an amphibian because it is an endocrine inhibitor. :?
styrofoam is a known endocrine disruptor. maybe 8 years ago they didn't know that.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

But you can still use it.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:09 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

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Originally Posted by bsr8129 View Post
But you can still use it.
you can, but it's not good for your frogs.
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:52 AM
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Your correct Juliana, as I was one who said that. It is a disuptor. Some people... A lot of people still use it though. It's not the bet but I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems. It all depends I guess. I am staying away from it. Honestly egg crate is a lot easier to work with. You can form what ever you want then use great stuff to go over it.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

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Originally Posted by Pacblu202 View Post
It's not the bet but I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems.
Have you heard of anyone HAVING problems with it? Known issues with frogs affected by the styrofoam?
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

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Originally Posted by thedude View Post
Have you heard of anyone HAVING problems with it? Known issues with frogs affected by the styrofoam?
Hmm..well there are some papers that indicate this to be the case.. since most of the issues function as endocrine disruptions, they wouldn't be detected by simple observation without some method of comparision and control...
See for example

ScienceDirect.com - Environmental Research - Effects of Styrene Monomer and Trimer on Gonadal Sex Differentiation of Genetic Males of the Frog Rana rugosa

If people are using styrofoam in thier enclosures, they should seal the entire piece and/or silicone it into place to prevent/minimize circulation of water between the styrofoam and the rest of the enclosure (and/or use a flow through system which prevents it from remaining in the enclosure).
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

I'm aware of the effects of styrofoam and that it is an endocrine disruptor. But since they said "I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems" that implies they have heard people have had problems. Since I have never heard of anyone having direct problems concerning styrofoam, I was interested in hearing any that they may have heard.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

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Originally Posted by thedude View Post
I'm aware of the effects of styrofoam and that it is an endocrine disruptor. But since they said "I recall people saying tht some people have used it and not had problems" that implies they have heard people have had problems. Since I have never heard of anyone having direct problems concerning styrofoam, I was interested in hearing any that they may have heard.
Now that is an approach I can appreciate....

Ed
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

I think people are confused what an endocrine disruptor is and how it works. A lot of people probably hear and talk about endocrine disruptors as "bad" yet don't understand what is actually happening. Even in the example Ed posted a lot of people will not understand what is truly happening.

1. The endocrine system is focused on hormones. Hormones are typically a concern during critical periods of growth in an organism.

2. A large number of species are wired to develop as females. If the animal has male chromosomes they will produce a protein. This protein is what makes the gonads stop developing into a female gonad and make them develop into a male gonad. So, in humans the SRY protein will make the gonads turn into testis. Once this development has occurred the endocrine system will become more important. (this is probably why almost all the genetically male frogs developed male gonads in the article, it is a DNA thing and not a hormone thing).

3. The male genitals will produce higher levels of male hormones, most widely referred to as testosterone. There are many types of testosterone. It is the production of testosterone that causes the primary external sexual development. So, testosterone will shut down the female sexual development and begin the male sexual development. This is why many articles will focus on the size and function of the sexual characteristics when looking at the effects of endocrine disruptors.

4. Endocrine disruptors are also important for other issues that are not often discussed. Hormones are also an important part of bone development. Yes, you need calcium and D3 for healthy bones. However, it is the testosterone that typically causes bones to grow longer and more dense (in humans, Ed can verify if this is the case for frogs). This is why people with Gigantism are known for tumors on or near the pituitary gland or malfunctions of the pituitary gland. The excess hormones causes the bones to continue to grow.

5. All this talk about endocrine disruptors will be hard to "witness", unless you are measuring your frogs genitals, doing sperm counts, or accurately measuring your frogs size.

6. The published article makes an important conclusion. "These findings suggest that the styrene monomer and trimer induced a weak estrogen-like effect on the pathways of testicular differentiation in genetically male tadpoles". This is referring to the statistical analysis. A weak effect in statistics is often an effect size less than 0.2 (I didn't pay for the article so I don't know what the true statistics were). This means that although it is a concern to see these effects, more frogs developed properly than those that had the problems. So, a lot of us will never see the effects when looking at our individual frogs. However, if we look at the frogs general health (everyone's frogs) the endocrine disruptor could be concerning.
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Last edited by jeeperrs; 06-10-2012 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

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Originally Posted by jeeperrs View Post
"These findings suggest that the styrene monomer and trimer induced a weak estrogen-like effect on the pathways of testicular differentiation in genetically male tadpoles".
I'm sure this is just my lack of chemistry background talking here, but are we concerned with all styrenes having this potential issue, or just polystyrene / styrofoam?

The reason I ask is that I needed to bond some eggcrate awhile back, and digging around on Google I found that eggcrate was styrene (or at least the brand I was using was); should we be concerned about using eggcrate in our viv builds?
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:37 PM
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I'll have to agree with Ed here that a long as you seal it up very well it will definitely be less of a problem. Especially if it's not going to have much water contact. I would imagine that it being really well sealed as having no direct water contact it should be better but I would also like to hear people who have had problems. That would shed some real light on things
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:22 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

I've seen a few people use the stock exoterra backgrounds as a base to their own backgrounds before. Looking at a few I have, it looks to be styrofoam. Would this be unsafe to use if I were to use this as a substitute for GS in a titebond and peat background? There isn't a water feature planned in the tank if that matters.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:00 AM
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My guess would be it would be fine since its made for reptiles and stuff and made by Exo terra. I could be wrong though
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonliteral View Post
I'm sure this is just my lack of chemistry background talking here, but are we concerned with all styrenes having this potential issue, or just polystyrene / styrofoam?

The reason I ask is that I needed to bond some eggcrate awhile back, and digging around on Google I found that eggcrate was styrene (or at least the brand I was using was); should we be concerned about using eggcrate in our viv builds?
Technically egg crate is a polystyrene (since it is linked into a longer polymer chain). But back to your point, there are differences in leachates between different formulations of the plastic and ingredients used in those formulations. Polystyrene is used in multiple applications and formulations and not all are the same and not all are much of a risk for leachates. ... for example, polystyrene is used to make plastic petri dishes which are resistant to leachates in multiple formulations.

Polystyrene formulated as a foam, is a risk for breakdown products which occur over time as the foam is in constant contact with moisture...

Some comments,


Ed
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

So, styrofoam would be fine to use, but only if it has minimal contact with water? What about the styrofoam backgrounds created for fish tanks? I created one for my 125 gal cichlid tank and I sure don't have any problems with those suckers breeding a producing. And, creating a carved styrofoam background is a COMMON practice in fish tanks. Not sealed, either. Painted to look real and installed.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:21 PM
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My guess would be that the paint is what's sealing it and also fish are very hardy in freshwater. We go boating and release gas and oil into the water and they are fine. Frogs are soooo much more sensitive and absorb stuff through their skin
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

The paint doesn't seal it... Trust me. Its spray paint and isn't put on thick enough to seal it. You can also use super glue gel underwater. It sets instantaniously, apply, plunge, press, count to 30 and its set.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacblu202 View Post
We go boating and release gas and oil into the water and they are fine.
That's only because you are releasing a minimal amount and it's quickly diluted. Think "oil spill" Not so good for fish or anything else.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Safety of styrofoam?

It would be safe if sealed with "dry lock"right??
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