The Ozone layer is a thin layer of trace gas naturally formed in the highest level of earth’s atmosphere. This layer protects the earth from dangerous ultraviolet waves coming from the sun. When the ozone layer is damaged the radiation from the sun reaches the earth’s surface and causes serious complications to humans and the earth’s environment.
What happens to the ozone layer when you burn Styrofoam? First, we need to define Styrofoam. It is in fact not foam at all; it is a synthetic material. Styrofoam is made up of toxic chemicals such as benzene, a petroleum product, pentane, a hydrocarbon, and styrene monomer.
Styrene monomer is a colorless, oily liquid which is moderately toxic and flammable. It is the foundational material used to make Styrofoam. Styrene is the biggest health concern associated with Styrofoam. Since it was categorized as a hazardous waste it has been outlawed in many cities.
The chemicals in Styrofoam contribute to smog, global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. By burning Styrofoam 90 different hazardous toxic chemicals are being released into the atmosphere along with the smoke and significant amounts of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous chemical released when burning Styrofoam. When enough of Styrofoam is burned it can damage the nervous system and lungs, it also stays in the earth’s environment for years. There have also been reports of people known to have short-term symptoms like eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, confusion and muscle weakness. Long-term symptoms are kidney and liver damage, cataracts, and reproductive systems.
A tropospheric ozone layer is formed from the hydrocarbons in Styrofoam when burned and combined with nitrogen oxides with sunlight present. One hundred million Americans live in areas that do not meet the air quality standards. The EPA says: “Healthy individuals who are exercising while ozone levels are at or slightly above the standard...