Styrene is primarily a synthetic chemical. It is also known as vinylbenzene, ethenylbenzene, cinnamene, or phenylethylene. It's a colorless liquid that evaporates easily and has a sweet smell. It often contains other chemicals that give it a sharp, unpleasant smell.
It dissolves in some liquids but doesn't dissolve easily in water. Billions of pounds are produced each year to make products such as rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, food containers, and carpet backing.
Most of these products contain styrene linked together in a long chain (polystyrene) as well as unlinked styrene. Low levels of styrene also occur naturally in a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, beverages, and meats.
Exposure to styrene is most likely to occur from breathing indoor air that is contaminated with styrene vapors from building materials, tobacco smoke
, and consumer products. People who work where styrene is used or manufactured are likely to be exposed by breathing workplace
air. Breathing styrene is most likely to affect the nervous system
. Styrene has been found in at least 213 of 1,416 National Priorities List sites
identified by the Environmental Protection Agency
See a doctor if you have been harmed by this substance. In addition, it
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Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
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- Styrene: Frequently Asked Questions