Stop the use of Styrofoam containers in Guyana sign now

Stop the use of Styrofoam containers in Guyana!

Not only is Styrofoam terrible for our health, but it is also extremely hazardous to the environment because it does not dissolve. It may stay in the land-fill for over 400 years or more. It is not biodegradable, and can lead toxins into the groundwater under our overstuffed landfills. But note that not all Styrofoam is added to our overflowing landfills. A good percentage is often dumped into the environment as litter, where it breaks up into smaller pieces. Animals, thinking that its food, choke or die of clogged digestive pathways.

Regrettably, in Guyana, most food vendors and restaurants purchase Styrofoam, regardless of what negative effects it has. The main reason why they do so is because they are not aware of its danger and/or dont care because they are inexpensive.

It is a well-known but frequently denied fact that Styrofoam emits Benzene and Styrene into the air and more importantly, into our food and that both are known as human carcinogens. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) states that eating or drinking foods containing high levels of Benzene can cause serious health problems. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conducted a number of tests on animals exposed to styrene which show that ingestion of high levels of Styrene over several weeks can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, brain and lungs. When Styrene was applied to the skin of rabbits, it caused irritation. These effects come from a product that a majority of people use almost every single day!

In 1986, Styrene was found in 100 percent of all samples of human fat tissue taken as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Human Tissue Survey. Researchers found that Styrofoam cups lose weight when in use, meaning that styrene is oozing into the foods and drinks we consume. It then ends up stored in our fatty tissue, where it can build up to levels that can cause fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, blood abnormalities, weakness, headache, anxiety and depression.

When it comes to more solid food, meat or cheese we purchase from supermarkets on a clear-plastic wrapped polystyrene tray is readily picking up styrene from the foam container.

Studies have also found that styrene tends to migrate more quickly when food or drinks are hot. Even if you digest small portions of polystyrene, it will cause fatigue, down-syndrome, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Studies have shown that styrene mimics the estrogen in our bodies and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities and other hormone-related problems.

This is to urge Guyanese to have a choice and speak up for their rights. Let our food-vendors know that it is unacceptable when they give you Styrofoam containers. Make them aware of the harmful effects this causes and demand that they give you an option. You, the consumer, should refuse to use Styrofoam and educate others about its harmful effects but if you dont act now, you are not only harming the environment, but you are killing yourselves!

Remember fellow Guyanese, whilst Styrofoam might be a financial convenience, it has been declared an ecological and health nightmare!!

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Ernestine CherryBy:
Nature and EnvironmentIn:
Petition target:
The Government of Guyana

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