Styrene in the Environment
Styrene exists only briefly in the environment; it rapidly degrades in air and disappears from soils and water.
Styrene has a distinctive odor that can sometimes be detected if it is released into the atmosphere from a production facility or container used to transport the material. People living near facilities that make or use styrene may occasionally notice a slight scent in the air. If you have concerns about styrene odors in your neighborhood, you may wish to contact the local plant’s manager or your local health department.
A common source of exposure to styrene is through motor vehicle exhaust and inhalation of fumes among adult tobacco smokers.
Extensive research shows that styrene exists only briefly in the environment; it rapidly degrades in the air and disappears quickly from soils and surface waters, and does not persist in the human body.
It is very unlikely adverse health effects would be experienced from environmental exposures. For more information, visit styrene.org.
Did you know?
Natural styrene was first extracted from the Turkish sweetgum tree (also called Levant styrax, after which styrene is named). Styrene also occurs in the similarly named, but unrelated, styrax tree. The natural resin can be used as incense or to add a vanilla-like scent, while the oil has a woody aroma.