AUG 2018


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AUGUST 2018 32 CompositesWorld US styrene-reduction mandates: Go or no-go? » It's been seven years since the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) listed styrene in its "12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC)" (Federal Register, June 2011) as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." What's happened in the North American composites industry since that time? CW set out to answer that question. Since styrene was added to the NTP's RoC, activity has progressed on two fronts. On the first, resin manufacturers have worked to replace styrene with alternatives that are less likely to pose regulatory challenges. On the second, composites industry lobbyists and scientists have advocated removal of styrene from the RoC — that is, they are pursuing elimination of the classification— arguing that styrene's threat to human health has been overstated. To make an already complicated topic more complex, there are a variety of groups involved in this issue. ese include regulators, such as the US Envi- ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various state authorities, as well as other governmental agencies that don't regulate (such as NTP). ere also are trade associations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), many of which are engaged in activities CW will cover here. It's important to emphasize that NTP is not a regulatory body, so it doesn't set regulations. Rather, its charter is to provide infor- mation about potentially toxic chemicals to regulatory agencies and other health-related research groups. (is information could subsequently prompt regulatory agencies to consider limiting exposures or uses of a substance.) It's also important to point out that NTP assessments are hazard assessments, not formal, quan- titative assessments of risk. A hazard assessment differs from a risk assessment. Specifically, hazard refers to a substance's poten- tial to cause an adverse effect but does not consider the exposure level at which an effect might actually occur. "Risk" refers to the likelihood that harm will actually occur by looking at both potential hazard and actual exposure. is critical distinction often is the crux of the issue. Although globally, regulatory decisions are based on risk, in the US, various governmental regulatory and nonregu- latory agencies and NGOs at both the federal and state levels use NTP's hazard assessments as though they were risk assessments, which they are not. Impacts on legislation Are they right? Should styrene's classification/status be changed? e answer is subject to scientific interpretation, and how those interpretations play out in the regulatory realm can have poten- tially significant economic impact — especially in some of the Legislative changes are slow in coming, but technology forges ahead. By Peggy Malnati / Contributing Writer Styrene: Can it be used safely? The issue of whether styrene's listing/status should be changed is both subject to scientific interpreta- tion and capable of having a potentially great economic impact — especially on some of the highest- volume segments of the plastics and composites industries. Source | Styrene Information & Research Center

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