Styrene study finds 'no credible evidence' of carcinogen claim

13 February 2013 23:23  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A study published on Wednesday supported by the styrene industry reported in its findings that that there is “no credible evidence” that styrene exposure increases the risk of cancer in humans.

The study, “Cancer Mortality of Workers Exposed to Styrene in the US Reinforced Plastics and Composite Industry”, surveyed nearly 16,000 styrene-exposed workers and found no credible evidence that such exposure increases the risk from cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue, pancreas or lungs.

“These findings, which are based on 60 years worth of epidemiology data on cancer risks associated with workers exposed to relatively high levels of styrene, completely undercut the US National Toxicology Program’s listing of styrene as ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen’ in its 12th Report on Carcinogens,” says Jack Snyder, executive director of the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), which supported the study.

The study adds 19 years of follow-up mortality data to a study of workers in the reinforced plastics industry published originally in 1990 and updated in 1994.

“This updated analysis substantially adds to the evidence that indicates a lack of association between styrene exposure and cancer,” said Julie Goodman, a toxicologist with Gradient. Goodman co-authored a recent weight-of-evidence analysis of styrene research, concluding that studies in humans, and particularly workers with high styrene exposures, show no consistent increase in death from any type of cancer.

The US styrene industry has been fighting a ruling by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) that styrene could possibly cause cancer in humans. US styrene officials also have suggested that production capacity could be lost and jobs shipped abroad.

The study is available on line and has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Epidemiology’s March issue.

By: Brian Balboa
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