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Should Styrofoam Models Be Banned From Architecture Schools?

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Some believe the material poses a health risk

Styrofoam poses a potential risk to student health, or so reasons the architecture school at Washington University in St. Louis. Starting next year, the architecture program within the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts will ban the use of styrene materials for model-making, according to Dezeen, joining others that already ban the material.

Exposure to the styrene found in styrofoam can cause "headaches, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, malaise, difficulty in concentrating, and a feeling of intoxication," according to the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). However, effects were recorded in those workers manufacturing the material, not aspiring architects trying to pass a third-year studio class.

In addition to its possible health issues, the substance doesn't biodegrade. Landfills are already stuffed with styrofoam waste that will take more than five centuries to break down, and let's be honest, few student models are worth keeping around that long.

In spite of this, some students aren't ready to give up their styrofoam models, since it's a cost-effective material that's easy to manipulate.

"It's cheaper than wood and you can heat it to change its shape," Washington University undergrad Sam Landay told his student newspaper. "You can do the same thing with other materials, but it's much more labor-intensive."

What do you think? Should students find other materials to build the model structures of tomorrow, or is this fear of styrofoam simply much ado about nothing?

US architecture school intends to ban use of styrene in model-making [Dezeen]

Behold: a Marshmallowy House Covered Fully in Styrofoam [Curbed]

The 'Lightest Metal Ever' Is 100 Times Lighter Than Styrofoam [Curbed]