You Know Styrene – A resource for consumers, employees and communities

The Styrene You Know: Styrene Overview

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 made naturally by various living things and is found 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.


Most of the carpeting used in homes and commercial buildings relies on SB Latex, a styrene-based product. Carpets are made by inserting the fibers, or pile, into a webbed plastic backing. A secondary backing is then applied to the pile and plastic backing to provide stability. SB Latex is the product that acts as the glue, or binder, that holds everything together.