Styrene is used in such diverse products as food containers, flotation devices, and wind turbine components.
Styrene is a chemical building block that is the backbone of many familiar products, such as food containers, rubber tires, building insulation, carpet backing, and reinforced fiberglass composites such as boat hulls, surfboards, residential kitchen countertops, bathtubs, and shower enclosures.
Styrene is found naturally in a number of foods, including cinnamon, strawberries, and nuts. And for more than 70 years, synthetic styrene has been produced from natural gas and petroleum by-products for use in making thousands of consumer products.
Because styrene occurs naturally and is a commercially important raw material, nearly everyone encounters styrene in some form every day. In fact, you’ve likely already used several styrene-based products today.
Did you know?
In addition to being made commercially for hundreds of important uses, very low levels of styrene occur naturally in certain foods, such as strawberries, cinnamon, beef, coffee beans, and nuts. It is also found naturally in other foods and beverages, including cheese, wine, and beer. It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits polystyrene plastic containers—made from styrene—for food-contact uses.