Image: Bill Abbott
NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) continues to support efforts to overturn the reasonably anticipated carcinogen designation and takes the position that styrene, as it is currently used in the CIPP process, poses no health hazard to the workers installing the CIPP or to the general public.
The lawsuit was filed by Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC) and the Dart Container Corp. the same day -- June 2012 -- that the announcement was made by the (HHS) that its National Toxicology Program (NTP) 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC) had designated styrene a “reasonably anticipated carcinogen.” NTP, a part of HHS, is mandated by Congress to periodically publish reports on carcinogens identifying chemicals and biological agents that could put people at risk for cancer.
Through the first six months of 2012, the litigation continues to make its way through Federal Court in Washington, DC, with filings of motions and counter motions. Both parties have petitions pending requesting a summary judgment.
Next on the docket is a hearing scheduled on Aug. 3.
The primary issue raised in litigation and by others opposing the designation is that the science behind the decision to name styrene a possible carcinogen is flawed and that there is no proven link between styrene and cancer in humans and animals.
SIRC, the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and other organizations have assembled an impressive body of research-based data to support the lawsuit’s position and for on-going educational efforts to document that styrene, properly used, does not pose a cancer risk to humans and animals.
SIRC has reported to its members that the European Union's most recent weight-of -evidence styrene assessment concluded that styrene is not a carcinogen and subsequent scientific studies have provided further support for that conclusion.
The styrene industry was encouraged by a ruling made by Judge Reggie Walton on March 30 granting the styrene industry’s request to include reports generated by subgroups to the NTP’s Expert Panel pertaining to styrene’s listing as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.
“We believe that the Expert Panel’s materials are the most important for our case from a discovery perspective,” said SIRC Executive Director Jack Snyder. “We anticipate that they will provide very meaningful insights into how the NTP reached its scientifically unwarranted decision to include styrene in the RoC.”
In April, toxicologist James Bus, speaking on behalf of SIRC, testified at a joint Congressional subcommittee hearing that NTP’s RoC process needs comprehensive oversight and fundamental reforms to assure that its listings are based on all of the scientific information.
Bus told the committee that the current process lacks explicit criteria to ensure consistency and transparency and that a thorough assessment of the RoC process is needed, ideally through a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review.
“The current process,” said Bus, “lacks explicit criteria to ensure consistency and transparency. NTP fails to use many scientific best practices, does not meet minimum standards of peer review and going forward has reduced transparency by not providing written responses to public comments. The only way to restore public and industry confidence in the RoC is through an NAS review.”
Bus’ testimony was heard by members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, and the Committee on Small Business’ Subcommittee on Health Care and Technology. Bus is employed by the Dow Chemical Co.
In addition to Bus, two representatives of small businesses discussed the negative consequences and regulatory effects resulting from styrene’s inclusion in the RoC.
Cured-in-place-pipe technology was introduced more than 40 years ago and has developed into a billion dollar industry that provides municipalities and private companies an environmentally sound means to rehabilitate failing underground pipeline infrastructure at typically lower costs than traditional replacement techniques. Even though CIPP consumes millions of pounds of styrene per year, it is estimated to represent about five percent of the styrene used for composite manufacturing which is only about 0.5 percent of the total styrene used in North America.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
NASSCO, (410) 486-3500, www.nassco.org