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Environmental fate & pathways

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Once in the environment, a number of processes can affect the distribution and fate of styrene. The dominant processes are photooxidation, volatilisation and biotransformation. The majority of styrene released into the environment is expected to reach the atmosphere due to its high potential for volatilisation. Styrene is rapidly degraded in the atmosphere by reaction with hydroxyl radicals and tropospheric ozone. Volatilisation from soil and water is rapid and styrene is readily biodegradable. Some adsorption to soils and sediments may occur. Styrene has a moderate mobility in soil. The physical removal of airborne styrene by processes such as wet and dry deposition is thought to be relatively minor, and long-range transport of styrene is considered insignificant, based on its short atmospheric half-life.