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Citizens suggest Styrofoam ban in Atascadero 

—Community members from San Luis Obispo County addressed the Atascadero City Council during their Mar. 27 meeting about a desire to place a Styrofoam ban on the agenda after successfully getting the ban put on a Paso Robles City Council’s future agenda.

“I’m here with other concerned citizens of Atascadero urging you to join other cities in our county to ban products made of Styrofoam for use and for sale by businesses in our city. Five other cities in our county… plus 115 other California cities have recognized expanded polystyrene as harmful to human health, a threat to wildlife, and a costly waste product in our environment,” said speaker Marty Brown, who noted that many restaurants have already made the switch to biodegradable take-out container options.

Several members brought up the various health concerns associated with Styrofoam products.

“[Styrofoam] is not just an environmental issue, it’s also a public health issue,” said Paso Robles High School senior and member of the Paso Robles Youth Commission Mason Seden-Hansen, with Cal Poly trained marine biologist Dr. Cynthia Lewis adding, “Along with being possible carcinogens, styrene is a neurotoxin and has been pointed out, it builds up in fatty tissue so the tired feeling, headaches, reduced concentration, possible other effects, could come from that.”

Janine Rands, chair of SLO Foam Free, discussed progress made by the organization and updates, such as how Grover Beach’s Styrofoam ban ordinance will take effect in July 2018. Five cities in San Luis Obispo County have already put this ban in place: Arroyo Grande, Morro Bay, Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach.

The Atascadero City Council agendized the item of a possible Styrofoam ban at the end of the meeting.

“We need to be stewards of our environment, not destroyers,” said Dr. Lewis.

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