The unknown danger of toxic floral foam (Oasis)

Yvette R. Wolf
5 min readJan 9, 2020

You’re at a hospital to meet your friend’s newborn for the first time and you want to buy them a special something.

“Everyone loves flowers…” you think.

So you stop in at the hospital florist and there’s an array of pre-made flower arrangements to choose from. Most of them are flowing out of boxes.

You wonder how the flowers survive and stay upright in those boxes.

They’re in that moist green foamy stuff… or “floral foam” — invented and made popular in the fifties by a company called Smithers-Oasis. You buy one for your sick nan or take it to the room of a newborn that has never been exposed to the harsh chemicals of the modern world. Everyone in that room breathes in or potentially touches poison coming from a little box of green foam.

Fifty percent of an Australian floristry course is working with a base medium ie. floral foam, and around 95 percent of current florists use it in their shops or wedding work daily. 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.

A year ago there was limited information available and it seemed like no one was even aware of its toxicity. This is because it has been cleverly marketed as being an eco-friendly product. It has been marketed so well that even established florists are generally not aware of this. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just humans being dodgy and greedy.

Oasis is apparently top of the range for floral foam products. Premium Florist Choice Floral Foam has been known to cause cut flower stem burn in the past, however its quality has supposedly improved. All floral foam products are still made with the same chemicals, so it doesn’t really matter which brand you go for.

Oasis is made with OASIS® Floral Foam Maxlife. Floral foam is an open cell plastic. It is a green fine-celled thermoset phenolic plastic foam. It contains many hazardous substances including formaldehyde smoke, oxides of carbon, phenol, cresols, xylenols, and sulfur dioxide. It may be irritating to eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. Prolonged exposure may cause cancer. This product appears to be very unsafe and florists are supposed to…



Yvette R. Wolf

Exercise Physiology | Environmental Science | Pseudoscience | Floristry