Recent Developments Encouraging For The Re-Examination Of Styrene’s Designated Status

Industry Continues To Press Styrene Issue
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | June 2012, Vol. 67 No. 6
Image: Bill Abbott

SIRC has reported to its members that the European Union's most recent weight-of -evidence styrene assessment concluded that styrene is not a carcinogen and subsequent scientific studies have provided further support for that conclusion.

The styrene industry was encouraged by a ruling made by Judge Reggie Walton on March 30 granting the styrene industry’s request to include reports generated by subgroups to the NTP’s Expert Panel pertaining to styrene’s listing as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.

“We believe that the Expert Panel’s materials are the most important for our case from a discovery perspective,” said SIRC Executive Director Jack Snyder. “We anticipate that they will provide very meaningful insights into how the NTP reached its scientifically unwarranted decision to include styrene in the RoC.”

In April, toxicologist James Bus, speaking on behalf of SIRC, testified at a joint Congressional subcommittee hearing that NTP’s RoC process needs comprehensive oversight and fundamental reforms to assure that its listings are based on all of the scientific information.

Bus told the committee that the current process lacks explicit criteria to ensure consistency and transparency and that a thorough assessment of the RoC process is needed, ideally through a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review.

“The current process,” said Bus, “lacks explicit criteria to ensure consistency and transparency. NTP fails to use many scientific best practices, does not meet minimum standards of peer review and going forward has reduced transparency by not providing written responses to public comments. The only way to restore public and industry confidence in the RoC is through an NAS review.”

Bus’ testimony was heard by members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, and the Committee on Small Business’ Subcommittee on Health Care and Technology. Bus is employed by the Dow Chemical Co.

In addition to Bus, two representatives of small businesses discussed the negative consequences and regulatory effects resulting from styrene’s inclusion in the RoC.