US Congress may review 'likely carcinogen' label on styrene

28 July 2011 19:48  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Congressional committees soon may convene a special hearing to review a decision by federal health officials listing styrene as a likely carcinogen, industry officials said on Thursday.

Timothy Gay, a spokesman for styrene producers and end-user groups, said Representatives Donald Manzullo (Republican-Illinois) and Tim Ryan (Democrat-Ohio) have asked for a joint committee inquiry into last month’s decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify styrene as possibly cancer-causing.

The two congressmen head the House of Representatives' manufacturing caucus.

In petitions to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the separate Small Business Committee, Manzullo and Ryan asked for a joint oversight hearing as soon as possible, charging that the department relied on "ambiguous science" in making the ruling.

Manzullo and Ryan also asked the House Appropriations Committee to make inquiries at the department "questioning the process used" to make the carcinogen-related ruling.

The House Appropriations Committee has jurisdiction over the department because it controls funding for HHS.

The department’s National Toxicology Program (NTP) issued its 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC) on 10 June, in which styrene is listed as "reasonably anticipated" to be a human carcinogen.

Styrene industry interests, including the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), immediately challenged the NTP decision and filed suit in federal court seeking to reverse what the styrene producers group termed a "scientifically bankrupt" decision.

Earlier this month the US District Court in Washington, DC, declined to issue a temporary stay order against NTP, but the court said it would consider SIRC’s request for a permanent injunction.

In seeking congressional hearings on the issue, the styrene group has opened a second front in its effort to get the NTP decision reversed.

SIRC has argued that the NTP ruling could put at risk some 3,000 US styrene-related businesses and as many as 750,000 related jobs.

Gay said it was not yet known whether or when the House committees would convene a hearing on the matter.

For more on styrene visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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