On June 10, 2011, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius approved the 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC), which includes a classification of styrene as a “reasonably anticipated” carcinogen. As a result of the RoC listing, OSHA’s Hazard Communications Standard will require suppliers and employers to put cancer warning labels on drums and other “containers” of styrene and styrene-containing materials, including resin and gelcoat.

Since the National Toxicology Program (NTP) announced that styrene was under consideration for potential listing in the RoC, ACMA has challenged the assessment by working to educate decisionmakers on Capitol Hill and in the White House about the solid science supporting a conclusion that styrene does not pose a cancer threat for humans. ACMA is now evaluating the options available to reverse the listing decision.

“We are very disappointed that the National Toxicology Program failed to address the legitimate concerns of the styrene industry and Congress in its 12th Report on Carcinogens. Based on the significant research now available, ACMA, as well as leaders in the scientific community, believe that styrene does not pose a cancer risk,” says ACMA and Miles Fiberglass & Composites President Lori Luchak.

“More than 750,000 Americans are employed in jobs that depend on styrene,” says ACMA Immediate Past President Monty Felix, CEO of Alaglass Pools. “Historically, people have worked safely for 50 years with styrene in the United States and Europe. Several long-term studies examined 60,000 health records of workers exposed to styrene. These findings showed no significant health problems linked to styrene exposure.”

European Union scientists recently completed an exhaustive review of styrene’s health effects and concluded that exposure to styrene is not likely to cause cancer in humans. The same conclusion was reached by an expert panel who’s report was published in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. In addition, other federal agencies, including OSHA and EPA are aware of the scientific data and have not concluded that there is sufficient risk to require additional protections.