Styrene Designation Disputed By Industry

Potential Impacts, If Any, Weighed By Market
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | July 2011, Vol. 66 No. 7

“The organizations involved in identifying substances as reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen are extremely conservative. By definition, substances can be listed as such with less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans or laboratory animals, and with no potential exposure levels identified that would put people at risk above normal background exposure levels. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) includes styrene with a long list of everyday substances that have been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans, which include electromagnetic fields from cell phones, talc-based body powder and coffee.”

Cured-in-place pipe technology was introduced 40-years ago and has developed into a billion dollar industry that provides municipalities and private companies an environmentally sound means to rehabilitate failing underground pipeline infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of traditional replacement techniques. CIPP is also considered a cost-effective rehabilitation solution.

Although CIPP consumes millions of pounds of styrene per year, it is a relatively small user of styrene -- estimates are that CIPP consumes about 5 percent of the styrene used for composite manufacturing which is about 0.5 percent of the total styrene used in North America.

NASSCO’s position is that there appears to be no evidence that styrene, as it is currently used in the CIPP process, poses any health hazards to the workers installing the CIPP or to the general public and cites independent studies in North America and Europe that concluded a styrene exposure health hazard does not exist.

However, the HHS has emphasized the “science” used in conducting carcinogen studies to justify designations of substances added to the RoC.

"The strength of this report lies in the rigorous scientific review process," said Ruth Lunn, Dr. P.H., director of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Office of the Report on Carcinogens. "We could not have completed this report without the significant input we received from the public, industry, academia and other government agencies."

Disputed research, science
Yet, the quality of that science is the primary objection raised by styrene proponents who question styrene’s designation as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.

Immediately after the release of the RoC report, Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC) Executive Director Jack Snyder said the U.S. styrene industry will contest vigorously the HSS listing of styrene in its 12th Report on Carcinogens.

Buyer's Guide