continued Daniel Morrissey, environmental chairperson for the Aurora Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group, said the Environmental Protection Agency determined people have some styrene in their body. The EPA also determined the chemical may leach from polystyrene containers used for the food industry.
According to the EPA, people exposed to levels of styrene exceeding regulations for a short period of time may experience nervous system effects such as depression, loss of concentration, weakness, fatigue and nausea. Those exposed to it at high levels for a lifetime may develop liver and nerve tissue damage, along with cancer.
“That is from some type of exposure, whether it is from the water supply, through a heated Styrofoam container … or possibly an air contamination,” Morrissey said. “Fifteen percent of all urban litter is polystyrene.”
Sandy Steubing, of Albany, urged legislators to listen to county residents over any lobbyists fighting the ban.
“I would be very surprised if a resident from the county would come forward today and speak in favor of Styrofoam without being paid to do so,” Steubing said. “Please listen to us: the unpaid voters who live here in this county.”
Nobody spoke against the proposed ban at the meeting, but there also was no agenda items relating to the local law. Natalie Nussbaum, of Colonie, didn’t see any good reasons for businesses to continue using Styrofoam.
“There is really nothing good to using Styrofoam. It is all harmful and bad in many ways,” Nussbaum said. “Many (businesses) have switched over voluntarily … and are doing very well after making the switch.
“It is important for our environment. It is important for our health. It is important for our future,” she continued.