Styrofoam degrades in seawater | Science News

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Styrofoam degrades in seawater

Study suggests besides the visible plastic, smaller bits also foul the waters

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6:11pm, August 20, 2009

WASHINGTON — From the beer cooler at the bow to flotation devices and bumpers, life on the sea often involves light, white foamed plastic, commonly known by the trademark Styrofoam. But life in the sea is encountering the plastic as well. The chemical building blocks of foamed polystyrene have been detected in several areas of the Pacific Ocean and lab experiments demonstrate that the plastic degrades at seawater temperatures, researchers reported August 19 at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

“Plastics are a contaminant that goes beyond the visual,” says Bill Henry of the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The

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