Styrene used to be a staple of architectural model making at Washington University's Graduate School of Architecture. We would buy it wholesale and store the 4' x 8' floppy sheets clamped to the studio desks. We would laser cut it with the fumes exhausting to our front door. We glued it together with a solvent affectionately referred to as "poison". We heat-gunned it to deform it's inherent plain. We baked it in order to vacuum form it into shapes. We sanded it to give it a velvety finish. That perfect model was perfectly toxic.
Fortunately times, they have a-changed. I hope my three and a half years studying architecture won't give me cancer (the cancer that was mentioned on the back of our "poison" metal jars). And I hope younger generations of architects will not only find a healthier alternative to plastic models, but that they will use those models to create health buildings for the earth and it's inhabitants.
Check out the full story on: http://www.archdaily.com/785844/us-architecture-school-bans-styrene-as-model-making-material