US to cite styrene as likely carcinogen, industry to file suit

10 June 2011 15:52  [Source: ICIS news]

A US styrenics plantWASHINGTON (ICIS)--US federal health regulators on Friday are expected to list styrene as a likely carcinogen, chemical sector officials said, adding that they are already preparing a legal challenge to the controversial action.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said early on Friday that it would issue its 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC) at 13:00 hours Washington time (1700 hours GMT).

Joe Walker, spokesman for a group of styrene producers and downstream users, said it was expected that the new report would list styrene as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”, a characterisation that sector officials have said could cause significant disruption and job losses in US industry.

The department’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) had earlier issued a draft of the 12th RoC in which styrene had been tentatively identified as a likely carcinogen.

An industry group, the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), and more than 60 members of Congress had appealed to the department to review that tentative finding.

However, Walker said the styrene group expects that the department has declined the appeal and has accepted the NTP’s initial characterisation of styrene for the final report due out later on Friday.

“The decision to list styrene as an anticipated carcinogen has no scientific basis and is not a fair or valid assessment,” Walker said.

He said that if as expected HHS does list styrene as a likely carcinogen, SIRC and other styrene-dependent industries are preparing to seek a court injunction or other legal action to block or overturn the department’s decision.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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