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Can You Burn Styrofoam? Risks, Facts, & FAQ


As it turns out, you can burn Styrofoam—but you probably shouldn’t.

When burned, Styrofoam emits a number of harmful chemicals. Inhaling these chemicals can cause a variety of health problems, including headaches, dizziness, and respiratory irritation.

So, if you’re looking to get rid of your Styrofoam waste, it is best to find a safer method than burning it. Try recycling it instead!

divider 1 Is Styrofoam Toxic to Humans?

styrofoam rounds
Image By: PPD, pixnio

Many of us know Styrofoam is not the most environmentally friendly product out there. In fact, it’s pretty darn bad for the planet. But what about its effect on humans? Is Styrofoam toxic to us?

The short answer is: yes, Styrofoam is toxic to humans. The chemicals in Styrofoam can leach into our food and drinks, and from there, into our bodies. These chemicals have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, reproductive issues, and immune system damage.

So unless you want to risk your health, it’s best to avoid Styrofoam altogether. There are plenty of other options out there that are just as good, if not better, for both you and the environment.

What Does Burning Styrofoam Release?

When you burn Styrofoam, it releases a number of harmful chemicals into the air. The most dangerous of these are carcinogenic styrene monomers and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Styrene is a known carcinogen, and exposure to it has been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, reproductive damage, and neurotoxicity. PAHs are also carcinogenic and have been linked to respiratory problems, skin diseases, and developmental issues.

In addition to these dangerous chemicals, burning Styrofoam also releases a number of other harmful substances, including carbon monoxide and dioxins. Such pollutants can have negative impacts on human health, and they’re also bad for the planet as a whole.

What Gas Is Released When You Burn Styrofoam?

When you burn Styrofoam, the gas that is released is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be dangerous if inhaled. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, and nausea. If you are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, it can be fatal.

How Toxic Are Styrofoam Fumes?

Image By: Pixabay

When Styrofoam is burned, the fumes that come from it contain microscopic dust particles and chemicals that can easily enter the lungs. And once inhaled, these chemicals and particles can cause serious health problems ranging from respiratory issues to cancer.

So, Is It Safe to Burn Styrofoam?

The answer is a resounding no. Not only is it bad for your health, but it’s also bad for the environment.

When you burn Styrofoam, those harmful toxins and chemicals are released into the air and eventually make their way into the soil and water. This can contaminate both our food and water supply and ultimately lead to a whole host of health problems for both humans and animals.

So next time you’re tempted to burn that Styrofoam cup or container, think twice. It’s not worth the risk to your health or the environment. Instead, take your Styrofoam to a local recycling center where it can be properly disposed of.

divider 1 Conclusion

Given everything we now know about the dangers of Styrofoam and its environmental impact, under no circumstances should it be burned.

Styrofoam burns easily, but its negative effects far outweigh its ease of combustion. If you absolutely must get rid of Styrofoam, your best bet is to recycle it or find another safe disposal method.

Featured Image Credit: Ekaterina43, Shutterstock


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