Styrene Designation Disputed By Industry

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

NASSCO plans
NASSCO’s DeBoda continues to emphasize that the use of styrenated resin in CIPP has not posed any documented health issues for workers or the public, and studies have proven that health risks from styrene exposure in the cured-in-place pipe industry are extremely low.

In fact, he added, association research has found exposure levels to styrene of workers during CIPP field installations are significantly lower than standards set by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a typical manufacturing or plant facility. Once the installed product is cured, he added, CIPP becomes essentially inert with no long-term associated styrene issues.

“NASSCO,” concluded DeBoda, “plans to support ongoing research on the effects of styrene in the workplace through the efforts of the Styrene Information and Research Center and the American Composites Manufacturers Association efforts to overturn the ROC’s premature decision to include styrene in its report.”

NASSCO, (410) 486-3500,

Reactions From Industry Groups, National Media

Warnings about cancer risks always make the news, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement that eight substances had been added to its Report on Carcinogens (RoC) received coverage from national television news networks and major daily newspapers, with follow-up reports on local news channels and metropolitan newspapers.

The industrial chemical formaldehyde and botanical aristolochic acids were designated “known” human carcinogens and six other substances, including styrene, were listed as “reasonably anticipated carcinogens.” The RoC is a congressionally mandated document that is prepared for the HHS by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

The primary source of information in most press reports was John Bucher, PhD, NTP associate director. Bucher said the RoC report “underscores the critical connection between our nation's health and what's in our environment."

Regarding the designations, the official press release from the NTP contains this qualification: “A listing in the Report on Carcinogens does not by itself mean that a substance will cause cancer. Many factors, including the amount and duration of exposure, and an individual's susceptibility to a substance, affect whether a person will develop cancer.”

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