McAfee & Taft RegLINC: Report on carcinogens lists Styrene as 'reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen' By Jessica John Bowman


The 12th Report on Carcinogens, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on June 10, 2011, lists Styrene as a chemical “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” The National Toxicology Program, which drafts the report, based its listing on experimental animal studies, limited evidence of carcinogenicity from human studies, and other evidence. The evidence of carcinogenic effect in humans is based largely on occupational studies in two major industries: the reinforced-plastics industry and the styrene-butadiene rubber industry. In both industries, styrene-exposed workers were found to face an increased risk of leukemia, lymphoma, or all lymphohematopoietic cancers. Although the report recognizes that the evidence associated with workers in the styrene-butadiene rubber industry is limited, due to the associated exposure of such workers to other known carcinogens including butadiene, the report indicates that the finding of increased risk of cancer in the reinforced-plastics industry is much stronger, due to the absence of cross-exposure to other known carcinogens in that industry. Although the report stops short of finding causality, due to the risks associated with confounding from exposure to other chemicals, it nonetheless concludes that “a causal relationship between styrene exposures and cancers in humans is credible.”

Article authored by McAfee & Taft Attorney: Jessica John Bowman.

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