|Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #)||
||EPA Method 502.2||EPA Method 503.1
||EPA Method 524.2
||EPA Method 8021
||EPA Method 8260
Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details
on this compound.
|Use|| MANUFACTURE OF PLASTICS; SYNTHETIC RUBBER; INSULATOR
USED IN PREPN OF ACRYLONITRILE-BUTADIENE-STYRENE &
STYRENE-ACRYLONITRILE POLYMER RESINS; MANUFACTURE OF PROTECTIVE
COATINGS (STYRENE-BUTADIENE LATEX; ALKYDS); IN MANUFACTURE OF
STYRENATED POLYESTERS, RUBBER-MODIFIED POLYSTYRENE, COPOLYMER
USED AS A DILUENT TO REDUCE VISCOSITY OF UNCURED RESIN SYSTEMS
GLASS FIBER-REINFORCED, UNSATURATED POLYESTER RESINS USED IN
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS & BOATS; USED IN SYNTHESIS OF
STYRENE-DIVINYLBENZENE COPOLYMERS AS MATRIX FOR ION-EXCHANGE
RESINS; AS SYNTHETIC FLAVORING SUBSTANCE & ADJUVANT; AS
CROSS-LINKING AGENT IN POLYESTER RESINS; IN RUBBER ARTICLES (5% WT
MAX), WHEN INTENDED FOR USE IN CONTACT WITH FOOD
MONOMER FOR STRAIGHT & IMPACT POLYSTYRENE; COMONOMER FOR
STYRENE-BUTADIENE ELASTOMERS & FOR OTHER COPOLYMERS, EG, ACRYLIC
ESTER-STYRENE; CHEM INTERMED FOR STYRENATED PHENOLS & STYRENE
OXIDE, STYRENATED OILS; CROSS-LINKING AGENT IN UNSATURATED
POLYESTER RESIN MANUFACTURE.
FDA-APPROVED FLAVORING AGENT, EG, FOR ICE CREAM & CANDY
It is used to make paints.
|Consumption Patterns|| MONOMER OR COMONOMER FOR POLYSTYRENES, 67%; FOR
ACRYLONITRILE-BUTADIENE/STYRENE RESINS, 9%; FOR STYRENE-BUTADIENE
ELASTOMERS, 7%; FOR STYRENE-BUTADIENE COPOLYMER LATEXES, 6%; FOR
STYRENE-ACRYLONITRILE RESINS, 1%; CROSS-LINKING AGENT IN POLYESTER
MANUFACTURING, 5%; OTHER USES, 5% (1982)
Polystyrene, 55%; acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), 9%; styrene-butadiene rubber, 7%;
styrene-butadiene latex, 6%; unsaturated polyester resins, 6%; miscellaneous uses including other
copolymers and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), 4%; export, 13% (1985)
Polystyrene, 58%; ABS and SAN resins, 12%; SB elastomer, 8%; SB Latex, 7%; unsaturated
polyester, 7%; miscellaneous, 8% (1984) estimate
Initially, styrene was used primarily in the synthetic rubber industry, but currently most styrene is
consumed in plastics, resin, coatings, & paints. To date, all commercial uses are based on
chemical reactions that polymerize or copolymerize styrene.
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Styrene. Polystyrene, 55%; acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene (ABS), 9%;
styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), 7%; styrene- butadiene latex, 6%; unsaturated polyester resins,
6%; miscellaneous uses, including other copolymers and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), 4%; exports,
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Styrene. Demand: 1985: 7.6 billion lb; 1986: 7.8 billion lb; 1990
/projected/: 8.65 billion lb. (Represents total apparent domestic consumption, including
production of about 1 billion lb per year for export sales and imports of 200 million lb per year.)
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Styrene. Polystyrene, 55%; acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), 10%;
styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), 5%; styrene-butadiene latex, 5%; unsaturated polyester resins,
5%; miscellaneous uses, including other copolymers and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), 7%; exports,
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Styrene. Demand: 1988: 8,580 million lb; 1989: 8,700 million lb; 1993
/projected/: 9,950 million lb. (Includes exports, but not imports, which totaled 470 million lb last
|Apparent Color|| COLORLESS TO YELLOWISH, OILY LIQUID ; VISCOUS LIQUID ; Solventy,
|Odor|| CHARACTERISTIC SWEET, BALSAMIC, ALMOST FLORAL ODOR,
EXTREMELY PENETRATING ; An aromatic odor
|Boiling Point|| 145.2 DEG C
|Melting Point|| -30.63 deg C
|Molecular Weight|| 104.14
|Density|| 0.9059 AT 20 DEG C
|Odor Threshold Concentration|| Detection in water: 0.73 ppm; Chemically pure
Recognition in air: 0.047 ppm; Chemically pure
Odor Threshold Range: 0.15 to 25 ppm
Odor detection in air, 0.05 ppm (purity not specified)
Odor detection in water, 37 ppm (purity not specified)
Odor (low) 0.4300 mg/m; Odor (high) 860.00 mg/m; Irritating concn 4300.00 mg/m. Styrene,
During acute inhalation exposures to >10 ppm (0.04 mg/l), odor is not detectable; at 60 ppm
(0.26 mg/l), odor is detectable, but nonirritant; at 100 ppm (0.43 mg/l), odor is strong, but
without excessive discomfort; at 200-400 ppm (0.85-1.7 mg/l), odor is objectionably strong; at
376 ppm (1.6 mg/l) for 1 hr, neurological impairment is noted; at 600 ppm (2.6 mg/l), odor is very
strong, producing strong eye & nasal irritation. From table
|Sensitivity Data|| Acute exposure to high concn of styrene may produce irritation of the mucous membranes
of the upper respiratory tract, nose and mouth.
Primary irritant to mucosal surfaces at vapor concn above 200 ppm.
Irritating to skin
|Environmental Impact|| Significant amounts of styrene may be released to the environment from emissions
generated by its production and use and from automobile exhaust. If released to the atmosphere,
styrene will react rapidly with both hydroxyl radicals and ozone with a combined, calculated
half-life of about 2.5 hours. If released to environmental bodies of water, styrene will volatilize
relatively rapidly and may be subject to biodegradation, but is not expected to hydrolyze. If
released to soil it will biodegrade and leach with a low-to-moderate soil mobility. While styrene
has been detected in various US drinking waters, it was not detected in a groundwater supply
survey of 945 US finished water supplies which use groundwater sources. Styrene has been
detected in various US chemical, textile, latex, oil refinery and industrial wastewater effluents.
Styrene has been frequently detected in the ambient air of source dominated locations and urban
areas, has been detected in the air of a national forest in Alabama, and has been detected in the
vicinity of oil fires. Food packaged in polystyrene containers has been found to contain small
amounts of styrene.
|Environmental Fate|| TERRESTRIAL FATE: Styrene released to soils is subject to biodegradation.
Degradation of 87-95% has been observed in sandy loam and landfill soil over a 16 week
incubation and degradation of 2.3-12% per week has been observed with two subsurface aquifers.
Styrene may exhibit low to moderate soil mobility depending on soil conditions. It has been
demonstrated that styrene buried in soil can leach into underlying groundwater . Styrene which
leaked into surrounding soil from buried drums persisted in the soil for up to two years .
AQUATIC FATE: Volatilization and biodegradation may be dominant transport and
transformation processes respectively, for styrene in water. The volatilization half-life of styrene
from a model river (1 m deep with a current speed of 1 m/sec and wind velocity of 3 m/sec) is
about 3 hours. Although biodegradation studies utilizing only ambient waters are not available,
various BOD and other studies have shown styrene to be biodegradable. Sufficient quantitative
kinetic data are not available to predict the relative significance of aquatic photolysis. Hydrolysis
is not expected to be important. Adsorption to particulate matter and sediment may have some
significance (KOC of 270-550).
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: Styrene vapor in the atmosphere will react rapidly with hydroxyl
radicals and with ozone. The reaction half-lives of styrene with hydroxyl radicals and ozone are
calulated to be 3.5 and 9 hours, respectively (see aslo ABIO). Atmospheric wash-out of styrene is
not expected to be an important process due to the rapid reaction of styrene with hydroxyl
radicals and ozone and the high Henry's Law Constant.
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: Styrene does not absorb solar radiation at wavelengths above the solar
cutoff (approximately 300 nm); therefore, it will not be directly photolyzed in the lower
atmosphere (troposphere) or surface water. However, styrene is expected to be involved in
indirect photochemical reactions. Styrenes have been found to be very active generators of
AQUATIC FATE: The evaporation half-life of styrene from a well-mixed pool of water 1 meter
deep is estimated to be approximately 5.9 hours.
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: A considerable amount of styrene released into the environment is
expected to partition into the atmosphere because of its high vapor pressure, low density, and low
water solubility. Styrene was found to be among the most active generators of photochemical
|Drinking Water Impact|| DRINKING WATER: Water supply, Cincinnati, OH - 0.024 ppb . Detected, but not
quantified, in Evansville, IN and Cleveland, OH(2,3). Not detected in 945 finished water supplies
throughout USA which use ground water sources . Detected, but not quantified, in finished
drinking water in Louisiana; Cincinnati, OH; Indiana; Grand Forks, ND; NY .
GROUNDWATER: Detected in Iowa well water at 1.0 ppb . Detected but not quantified in a
private well in Wisconsin . Detected but not quantified in ground water in England .
Maximum concentrations of 10 ppb found in Netherlands . Well water adjacent to landfill
containing buried styrene in drums at Gales Ferry, CT had concentrations of 100-200 ppb in
SURFACE WATER: Water sample from lower TN River - 4.2 ppb . Detected, but not
quantitifed, in Delaware River, Waal River (Netherlands), England surface waters, and Great
Lakes(2,4,5,6). Concentrations of 1 ppb found in Kanawha River, WV and Scheldt River,
Drinking Water: Styrene has been detected in New Orleans drinking water after passing through
commercial charcoal-filter units. SRP: Contamination may be caused by filter/.
Ground Water: Styrene has been found in ground water as a result of leaching from a surface
impoundment in Walbro Corp, Cass City, MI.
Ground Water: Ground water contamination with styrene have occurred at the Valley of Drums -
Taylor site, Shepherdsville, KY. Leachate, leaks, and spills from discarded drums, as well as other
mismanagement incidents contributed to these contaminations.
Ground Water: Reicht Farm Site is a landfill located in Dover TWP, NJ. Leaks from waste
containers and "midnight dumping" contaminated the ground water in the area with styrene at a
concentration of 0.012 ppm.
/Styrene was detected in treated water collected from Torresdale Treatment Plant in Philadelphia,
PA, in November, 1976.
/Detected styrene in drinking water passed through commercial charcoal filtered units.
EFFL: Detected, but not quantified, in various chemical, textile, and latex effluents in Louisville,
KY, Calvert City, KY, Colliersville, TN, Memphis, TN and other USA locations . Wastewater
effluent from LA oil refinery contained 31 ppb . Unspecified industrial wastewater in USA - less
than 10 ppb . Air in vicinity of oil fire contained 0.5 ppm styrene .