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Another state just banned styrofoam containers from its restaurants - and eliminated a major health risk in the process

The Cool Down logo: MainLogo The Cool Down 27.05.2023 09:32:09 Laurelle Stelle
Styrofoam containers

Earlier in May, the state of Oregon passed a law that will protect restaurant customers and others from several toxic products, including styrofoam, Grist reported.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Janeen Sollman and signed into law on May 8. It will go into effect in 2025, giving food vendors and other companies a chance to switch to alternatives. Once the law takes effect, businesses and individuals will be fined up to $500 per day for distributing styrofoam materials or dishes and utensils treated with PFAS.

Polystyrene foam - which is what we commonly refer to as styrofoam, although the "real" trademarked product Styrofoam is a different material used in insulation - is used in many kinds of packaging, including takeout containers and packing peanuts. 

However, according to Grist, the material's main ingredient, styrene, is likely to cause cancer in humans. Styrene leaks from styrofoam over time or when it's heated up - like when hot food is placed in a polystyrene container.

This foam packaging is also non-recyclable, Grist reported, so it often ends up as litter or takes up space in landfills. Over time, it disintegrates into tiny pieces called microplastics that contribute to pollution.

The other materials controlled by the bill, PFAS, are a group of thousands of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They're also called "forever chemicals" because they don't break down naturally in the environment. They have been found in the blood of 97% of Americans and are linked to cancer, weight gain, and other serious health issues.

Nine states other than Oregon, plus the District of Columbia, have banned polystyrene food containers through legal measures, and California and Hawai'i have de facto bans, which are effective but not yet recognized by state law, according to Grist. Individual cities, including Los Angeles, have also banned styrofoam. 

Oregon State Representative Maxine Dexter told Grist that the bill was part of a movement away from single-use plastics in general. 

"We can't recycle our way out of this issue; we absolutely have to use less," Dexter said.

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Another state just banned styrofoam containers from its restaurants - and eliminated a major health risk in the process first appeared on The Cool Down.

samedi 27 mai 2023 12:32:09 Categories: The Cool Down: MainLogo

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