CIPP Industry Defends Styrene Use

Fed Dept. Seeks To Label Styrene As ‘Reasonably Anticipated Carcinogen’
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | May 2011, Vol. 66 No. 5
Styrene. Image: Bill Abbott.

“The issues you raise address parts of the risk assessment process beyond hazard identification and are outside the scope of the RoC [report on carcinogens] . . . The RoC is an informational scientific and public health document that identifies and discusses agents, substances, mixtures, or exposure circumstances that may pose a hazard to human health by virtue of their carcinogenicity . . .(sic). The RoC does not present quantitative assessments of the risks of cancer associated with these substances. Thus listing of substances in the RoC only indicates a potential hazard and does not establish the exposure conditions that would pose cancer risks to individuals in their daily lives. Such formal risk assessments are the responsibility of appropriate federal, state, and local health regulatory and research agencies.”

Obvious questions are: How scientific was the methodology used by the National Toxicology Program to base its recommendation to designate styrene as an anticipated carcinogen? How responsible is it to disregard short- and long-term repercussions of the designation?

NASSCO believes that labeling styrene a reasonably anticipated carcinogen will affect the entire sewer rehabilitation industry. Within this industry, CIPP accounts for about one billion dollars of sewer rehabilitation annually in North America, said Muenchmeyer.

Without styrene or with restrictions on styrene, far fewer miles of sewers would be fixed resulting in more sewer overflows and detrimental effects on the environment.

Municipalities and sewer districts working under EPA consent decrees, Muenchmeyer believes, would find it difficult and more costly to meet the requirements of those consent decrees, if they could at all.

“If styrene is labeled a reasonably anticipated carcinogen,” concludes Muenchmeyer, “it will not, of course, simply disappear. However, it will become highly regulated, including warning labels. Many governmental bodies will choose not to use styrene in sewer rehabilitation products or will possibly use other, less effective, products than CIPP for sewer rehabilitation. All of this adds up to a less effective way to repair the nation’s sewer infrastructure, with the resulting negative impact on the environment.”

NASSCO Position Statement

The use of styrenated resins in cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) is a major factor in the rehabilitation of sewer and water pipelines nationwide. For 40 years, this technology has been providing a significantly lower cost, no-dig, permanent rehabilitation alternative to open-cut pipe replacement.