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Latest Edit: Iva 2012-08-04 (EDT)

Styrene is one of many toxic environmental chemicals. It is used in the production of synthetic rubbers, synthetic latex, polyesters, and plastic products.


  • Raw materials for the manufacture of styrene, such as benzene and ethylene, are supplied primarily from the petroleum industry.
  • Automotive emissions, tobacco smoke, released from building materials, carpet backing. Low-level exposure may occur through ingestion of food products packaged in polystyrene containers.
  • Household: products such as packaging materials, toys, hobbies, crafts, house wares and appliances, electrical and thermal insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile parts, foam cups.
  • Industy: emissions from styrene production and disposal procedures- chemical spills, landfills and industrial discharges,industries and operations concerned with the fabrication and application of plastics- styrene/polystyrene manufacturing plants, resin manufacturers, synthetic rubber plants, boat and automobile plants, laminators.

Health Impact

  • Depression of the central nervous system.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, impaired balance, manual dexterity and reaction time, difficulty concentrating.
  • Headache
  • Irritation of mucous membranes, dermatitis, nausea, fatigue.
  • Genotoxic.


  • XStyrene is metabolized in the liver by cytochrome P-450 dependent multifunction oxidase enzymes, into its epoxide derivatives. The major metabolic pathway involves the sequential oxidation to mandelic and phenylglyoxylic acids. Styrene oxides are also conjugated with glutathione.
  • Styrene and its metabolites accumulate in lipid depots. Its slow elimination may indicate the possibility for bioaccumulation from chronic exposure.
  • The sum of metabolites, mendelate and phenylglyoxylate exhibit a higher correlation ratio than the separate levels of analytes. A summation value is reported on the patient's Environmental Pollutants Profile.