Leaching of styrene and other aromatic compounds in drinking water from PS bottles

J Environ Sci (China). 2007;19(4):421-6. doi: 10.1016/s1001-0742(07)60070-9.


Bottled water may not be safer, or healthier, than tap water. The present studies have proved that styrene and some other aromatic compounds leach continuously from polystyrene (PS) bottles used locally for packaging. Water sapmles in contact with PS were extracted by a preconcentration technique called as "purge and trap" and analysed by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC/MS). Eleven aromatic compounds were identified in these studies. Maximum concentration of styrene in PS bottles was 29.5 microg/L. Apart from styrene, ethyl benzene, toluene and benzene were also quantified but their concentrations were much less than WHO guide line values. All other compounds were in traces. Quality of plastic and storage time were the major factor in leaching of styrene. Concentration of styrene was increased to 69.53 microg/L after one-year storage. In Styrofoam and PS cups studies, hot water was found to be contaminated with styrene and other aromatic compounds. It was observed that temperature played a major role in the leaching of styrene monomer from Styrofoam cups. Paper cups were found to be safe for hot drinks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzene / analysis
  • Benzene Derivatives / analysis
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Packaging*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Paper
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry*
  • Styrene / analysis*
  • Toluene / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Benzene Derivatives
  • Polystyrenes
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Toluene
  • Styrene
  • styrofoam
  • Benzene
  • ethylbenzene