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Published on Jun 24, 2011
Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) is used as a plastic in many applications like pipes, car bumpers and toys (hard building blocks). ABS uses a number of hazardous chemicals. These include butadiene and styrene (see above) and acrylonitrile. Acrylonitrile is highly toxic and readily absorbed by humans by inhalation and directly through the skin. Both the liquid and its vapor are highly toxic. Acrylonitrile is classified as a probable human carcinogen as are styrene and butadiene.
It is a copolymer made by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. The proportions can vary from 15 to 35% acrylonitrile, 5 to 30% butadiene and 40 to 60% styrene. The result is a long chain of polybutadiene criss-crossed with shorter chains of poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile).