Intro to Chem, Professor Jara
Styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenyllethene, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH=CH2. This derivative of benzene is a colorless oily liquid that evaporates easily and had a sweet smell, although high concentrations confer a less pleasant odor. Styrene is the precursor to polystyrene and several copolymers. Approximately 25 million tons of styrene were produced in 2010. Styrene is most commonly produced by the catalytic dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene.
Styrene is regarded as a “hazardous chemical”, especially in case of eye contact, but also in case of skin contact, of ingestion and of inhalation, according to several sources. Styrene is largely metabolized into styrene oxide in humans, resulting from oxidation by cytochrome. Styrene oxide is considered toxic, mutagenic, and possibly carcinogenic. Styrene oxide is subsequently hydrolyzed into styrene glycol by the enzyme epoxide hydrolase. The US Environmental Protection Agency has described styrene to be “a suspected toxin to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and respiratory system, among others.” Styrene is widely used to make plastics, fiberglass rubber and latex. It is used to make polystyrene plastics and resins. You can be exposed to styrene at work or at home. Daily exposure to styrene by the non-smoking population. Workers in the reinforced plastics industry are exposed to the highest levels of styrene at work. They include workers who make boats, car and truck parts, tanks, bath tubs, and shower stalls.
Styrene is a component of tobacco smoke. Avoid smoking in enclosed spaces like inside the home or car in order to limit exposure to children and any other personnel in the building. Styrene is also released at home during the use of a copy machine. Families should use a copier when only needed and turn it off when finished. It is also important to keep the room with the copier well ventilated. Children are at...