As observed on the thousands of videos available under the #floralfoam, this is often done directly into the sink or into water. This action re-releases the plastic particles back into the environment where they can once again make their way into rivers and streams. This list was further refined using the following criteria: toxicity rating, exposure potential, estimated quantities used and potential number of workers using these chemicals. They suggest recycling the floral foam and using it as a soil conditioner, however this doesn’t seem like it would be a safe or healthy option, given the amount of hazardous chemicals it contains. Always check with the manufacturer of the foam to make sure there are no health or safety factors when cutting their foam … Florists use the foam as a basis for fresh flower arrangements. microbes. Fashionable florists choose simple posies over imported flowers and ‘toxic’ foam. Looking under a microscope, the structure of floral foam is very much like honeycomb, with spaces between the connecting chambers that allow water to move through the material. Prolonged exposure may cause cancer. They’re in that moist green foamy stuff… or “floral foam” — invented and made popular in the fifties by a company called Smithers-Oasis. The study also showed that the material was eaten by aquatic animals with a range of feeding habits and leaches more toxic compounds into the water than regular foam. Copyright Flowers Magazine © 2021. Floral foam is made from two chemicals considered to be hazardous to humans: phenol and formaldehyde. As a plastic, it is a product of the oil industry. Before the invention of floral foam, florists did their arranging straight into vases or pots of water, using chicken wire or metal pins under the water line to secure the stems in place. Floral foam already has a very large surface area where degradation can occur, even as a complete block, because of its cellular structure. Completely toxic… Handle in accordance with good hygiene and safety procedures. Anybody who has worked in the flower industry will be familiar with the magical, green, water-absorbing blocks used to create flower arrangements. Since 1950s, the floral foam—created by a US manufacturer, Smithers Oasis—has been the base medium of choice for florists across the world. Proudly an Australian Company. A recent study about the This product appears to be very unsafe and florists are supposed to be using it all the time. All floral foam products are still made with the same chemicals, so it doesn’t really matter which brand you go for. On the Oasis website, the product is 100% certified biodegradable within 567 days. The toxicity information is now readily available on the Australian Oasis website (it wasn’t a year ago) however on the American version it’s still a bit of a secret…. microbes that break the foam down into methane, CO2 and organic matter”. product. Thanks very much for this info which I found when searching for reliable information when wanting to order a wreath for my mother’s coffin. Is floral foam crushing as satisfying as it looks on the internet? She used Excelsior, the non-toxic, biodegradable wood packaging product as the mechanic for stabilizing the stems, wetted down with a fair amount of water. This new eco-friendly product is non-toxic and made from 97% basalt mineral rock fibers. All floral foam products are still made with the same chemicals, so it doesn’t really matter which brand you go for. almost identical in chemical composition to regular floral foam16. Image: Professor John West, University of Melbourne. Although marketing information for this product produced for the US claims ‘100% biodegradability”5, a footnote in an Australian 2018 press release for Bio Floral Foam suggests that the foam has not been shown to biodegrade completely, even in landfill conditions:  “The product has been shown by ASTM D5511 to biodegrade 51.5% within 365 days in biologically active landfill conditions. Phenol-formaldehyde plastics are used globally as floral foam and generate microplastics that can enter the environment. A white block, very … that: “the enhanced foam formulation is designed for modern landfills and attracts discusses eco-friendly alternatives to traditional floral foam. This movement of water into a flower’s stem happens when a freshly cut stem is placed in a vessel of clean water, without foam. Yeah and they will totally get back to you. Floral However, biodegradable products do not necessarily behave in the same way in all conditions. All Rights Reserved, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-16510-3_3, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es400663f, https://oasisfloral.com.au/2018/08/14/oasis-bio-floral-foam-maxlife-pressrelease/, https://oasisfloralproducts.com/ctemplate1.aspx?page=App_Themes/default/html/MaxLife_FAQs_en-US.html, https://oasisfloral.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/OASIS-Maxlife-Enhanced-Bio-Floral-Foam-AUS-ENG-30.8.19.pdf, https://oasisfloral.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/OASIS-Classic-Floral-Foam-AUS-ENG-30.8.2019.pdf, https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/898205_195723f870af4af5babdd47c476f79d2.pdf, oasisfloral.com.au/material-safety-data-sheets, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718303838, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749116309629, http://www.awa.asn.au/AWA_MBRR/Publications/Latest_News/Microplastics_impacting_wastewater_treatment_processes.aspx, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.5b03909. However, Page 1 of 5 SO-0013 SMITHERS-OASIS NORTH AMERICA 919 MARVIN STREET • P.O. and formaldehyde. This study is the first to describe how aquatic animals interact with this type of microplastic, and the resultant physiological responses. The lack of information about the product and its widespread availability (hardwares, gift shops, fabric stores) has led to mishandling of the product and abuse as a toy with the globally popular trend of crushing floral foam, often with glitter, for the purposes of an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (tingling feelings on the scalp and back) and social media fame. Inspired by Kate’s commitment to sustainability, Jane wanted to keep this design as eco-friendly as possible. Sept 9-11, 2008. However, while crumbling it into smaller pieces may help speed up the process, there is a downside because the microplastics are more easily dispersed in the environment where they can cause problems. Not only does it hold up to 50 times its weight in water, it is able to support a flower or foliage stem in a desired position. The issue of floral foam is one of much interest at the moment. I hadn't, but I quickly discovered that floral foam contains the same amount of plastic as 10 plastic shopping bags, is non-biodegradable, non-recyclable and toxic for both humans and animals. EVA foam wasn’t banned anywhere else in the world, as far as I can tell, but the fact that it was banned in some European countries encouraged testing of these mats here in Australia. Ee-Ling Ng; Esperanza Huerta Lwanga; Simon M. Eldridge; Priscilla Johnston; Hang-Wei Hu; Violette Geissen; Deli Chen. Because floral foam does not dissolve in water (it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces), it must go through a process of degradation to break down. If you’re a florist, you may wish to seriously rethink the use of floral foam in your shop or freelance work. Another alternative to floral foam, which has fallen out of favour today, is Florapac. This action helps the stem to continuously take up water by keeping the water vessels open and preventing the build-up of bacteria which causes the vessels to become blocked. No special requirements for hand, eye, skin or respiratory protection. Mrs. Clarke remembers: 'In the sixties this was the biggest and easiest medium before Oasis. MOST IMPORTANTLY floral foam is a petrochemical derived plastic product that is non-biodegradable. a recent study showed that a range of aquatic animals consume floral foam16. How Smart Companies are Using Blockchain to Improve Resilience in Wake of Climate Change. … The company created water-absorbing foam in … Proceedings of the International Research Workshop on the Occurrence, Effects and Fate of Microplastic Marine Debris. Most florists rely heavily on this product, cutting bricks of the green, spongy foam … Marketing information about the Bio Foam product states Water containing foam fragments should never be poured down the sink or into storm water. https://www.standards.org.au/standards-catalogue/sa-snz/manufacturing/ev-017/as–4736-2006, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135826. presence of bacteria that thrive in an oxygen-free environment. In order to create this 100% natural alternative to traditional floral foam, powdered basalt rock is spun into fibers at high heat and bound with a patented, sugar based binding agent and is now available for distribution in the US. Just a quick look at the MSDS will tell you this is not true. Floral foam is a type of plastic that is different to other families of plastics found in packaging and more familiar manufacturing. We analysed "regular foam… Safety glasses are recommended to be worn while handling it. It is a green fine-celled thermoset phenolic plastic foam. 2009. It’s … floral foam, and around 95 percent of current florists use it in their shops or wedding work daily. These elements contained in the base materials used to manufacture floral foam are considered … Repeated skin immersion in water containing formaldehyde has caused skin rashes, particularly in sensitive persons. Springer, Cham. There is almost no information available for consumers at the point of sale or with packaging to advise users on how to handle and dispose of the foam, or to explain what it is. These substances are toxic, so it is important to take care when handling floral foam. Dispose in accordance with local regulations. At this point in our understanding of microplastic and its impact on the natural world, best environmental practice would see this strained water poured into a hole in the ground or a garden, but never the water system12. Most of them are flowing out of boxes. There are hazardous chemicals in Styrofoam, including styrene … Best wishes Belinda Chez Fleur. is designed to break down in landfill, not in composting conditions or in The best practice for disposing of floral foam water is to pour it through a tight weave fabric such as an old pillowcase to capture as many of the foam fragments as possible. Have you ever seen a florist wear goggles? What we do know about floral foam is that it is plastic and as a result of the way it is used, it makes contact with the natural environment. In this video, we dive into the dangers of floral foam and answer the question is it safe. So you stop in at the hospital florist and there’s an array of pre-made flower arrangements to choose from. Oasis is apparently top of the range for floral foam products. C. Trestrail, M. Walpitagama,C. BOX NUMBER 790 • KENT, OHIO 44240 MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET Oasis® Floral Foam SECTION 1 - CHEMICAL PRODUCT AND COMPANY IDENTIFICATION IDENTITY OASIS® Floral Foam DATE PREPARED 6/08/2009 SYNONYMS, CHEMICAL NAMES, COMMON NAMES OASIS® Floral Foam … Formaldehyde is a priority chemical for Safe Work NSW (Australia). Scientific Evidence Supports a Ban on Microbeads, Ahmad, John M. Dole, Erin M. R. Clark & Frank A. Blazich (2014) Floral foam and/or conventional or organic preservatives affect the vase-life and quality of cut rose (. Oasis is made with OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife. The final A year ago there was limited information available and it seemed like no one was even aware of its toxicity. Sure it saves time and makes the flowers last longer (though not longer than if they were in regular fresh water) but in the long run it’s bad for florists AND consumers. Manufacturers Smithers Oasis have released a new line of foam with ‘enhanced biodegradability’ or Maxlife Enhanced Bio Floral Foam6. … Floral foam is widely used in the floral industry. If you’re not using floral foam… Floral foam should not be placed in the compost, garden or in the natural environment. conditions of use, because the toxic components are at such low concentrations. range of feeding habits and leaches more toxic compounds into the water than United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi. Floral foam is a remarkable product of great convenience. Bio These elements are carcinogenic, and prolonged exposure may cause cancer. Let us hope that it is only a matter of time now before it is completely banned. Because we have manufacturing facilities around the world which differ, please contact your local Smithers-Oasis office for this information.”. Surely customers would be happy to wait an extra 5 or 10 minutes for their florist to put together a non-toxic arrangement that would be just as pretty, if not more so. Thank you Rita for this comprehensive account. Florists work with this material daily, and it's essentially a carcinogen. Sure beats using the non-biodegradable, formaldehyde-laden floral foam! These were the very first plastics to be developed in the early 1900s. Floral Foam is a phenol formaldehyde-based foam, with an additive to attract Petition to Ban Toxic Substances Being Misused for #ASMR on YouTube & Instagram It is widely known among scientists and environmentalists that substances like “floral foam”, synthetic sponges, styrofoam and styrofoam beads, glitter, microplastics and PET plastic beads, certain ingredients of homemade slime (such as Borax), and silicon based aqua beads (i.e. Based on general disposal processes for plastic that is not recyclable or biodegradable: While a percentage of the solid matter poured down the sink will be captured through sewage processing, the reclaimed solid material from sewage treatment plants is often then used to fertilise farmland9, 11. Floral foam contains formaldehyde, barium sulphates and carbon black. Hedges, et al., Foaming at the mouth: Ingestion of floral foam microplastics by aquatic animals, Science of the Total Environment. 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