Styrene Monomer

Styrene is a clear, colorless aromatic liquid that comes from petroleum and natural gas. Styrene-based polymers are used to make products we use every day such as appliances and electronics, automotive components, flooring, insulation, medical devices, packaging, paper coatings, toys and consumer goods, and tires.

The safety of styrene has been evaluated for over 50 years and extensive health and safety studies conducted by manufacturers, academics and government agencies have concluded that, as currently used, styrene-based plastics are safe for consumer use. In fact, the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that styrene is not harmful in the amounts people encounter – whether in the workplace, as a customer of Trinseo, or in daily life. This conclusion has been supported by many well-respected international groups and regulatory agencies, including the European Union, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, the U.S. FDA, and Health/Environment Canada.

Some regulatory bodies have assigned a hazard classification to styrene monomer (2a, CMR2, Prop 65), but it’s important to note that these classifications and listings refer to the monomer, not products made from it.  These hazard classifications of the monomer do not reflect the risk for users of styrene-based polymers or end-use products.

Styrene exposure levels for customers and consumers are extremely low – far below the levels in the studies cited by regulators. Styrene is not harmful in the small amounts encountered in everyday products.

With more than 50 years of approved use in consumer products and food packaging, there is extensive scientific evidence to support the safety of styrene-based products. Our customers can continue to safely use styrenic polymers for all applications -- when used under normal conditions and in accordance with the Safety Data Sheet.

Expert Information

Trinseo Product Stewards are available to further discuss the scientific research and regulatory activity surrounding styrene. Industry information is also available by visiting the following external websites.

  • The Styrene Forum: Provides answers to frequently asked questions, reviews the uses and benefits and serves as a resource for regulatory activity on styrene.
  • Styrene Information and Research Center: Excellent resource for up-to-date scientific studies regarding the monomer. Provides links to research on human health and environmental impacts.
  • You Know Styrene: This is a comprehensive resources for consumers, employees and the community providing clear, concise information including health and safety issues and impact of the industry to jobs and the economy.
  • Plastic Foodservice Packaging Facts: Answers questions about the safety of polystyrene and other plastic packaging for food-contact applications.

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