New York’s mayor Micheal R. Bloomberg proposed a ban of plastic foam food packaging the City Council of New York on February 14, 2013. In order to become law the ban has to be passed by the City Council. Plastic foam is made of polystyrene (PS) and is currently not recyclable in New York. As such, the proposed ban is understood to be part of a larger effort towards increasing recycling. Plastic foam has already been banned in other major U.S. cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco. The proposition is opposed by small business owners, who believe that will be costly for the economy. The spokesmen of the Restaurant Association states that one has “to consider what the costs will be for both government and the business owners”.

Plastic foam is used for disposable coffee cups, fast food containers and in other food contact applications. Some of the components of polystyrene plastic foam have been shown to have endocrine disrupting properties (Ohyama et al. 2007, Yanagiba et al. 2008).

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Ohyama, KI. et al. (2007). “Effects of prenatal exposure to styrene trimers on genital organs and hormones in male rats”. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 232(2):301–8.

Yanagiba, Y. et al. (2008). “Styrene trimer may increase thyroid hormone levels via downregulation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) target gene UDP-glucuronosyltransferase”. Environ Health Perspect 116(6):740–5.