For more than 30 years, the Styrene Information & Research Center (SIRC) has sponsored a comprehensive research program to better understand the potential, if any, for styrene to affect human health.
SIRC believes that regulation and public communication by government agencies about possible styrene health effects should be based on reviews by independent experts who rely on all of the available scientific information (including many studies reporting no effects), rather than those that are based on a more limited review of only the “positive” data (reporting adverse effects).
Regulation and public communication by government agencies about possible styrene health effects should be based on reviews by independent experts who rely on all of the available scientific information.
SIRC’s approach has been to sponsor research to answer questions about the potential health effects of exposure to styrene. SIRC also commissions independent reviews of the health effects studies on styrene where data already exist. Research studies and literature reviews are sponsored with the intention that the final reports will be published in appropriate peer-reviewed journals.
While much of SIRC’s work has focused on addressing styrene’s carcinogenic potential, researchers also have investigated styrene’s potential neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and genotoxicity, as well as its potential to be an environmental pollutant. The following sections review the scientific data on styrene for a variety of potential health endpoints, scientific topics, and environmental impacts. Because these sections merely summarize the scientific research, footnotes to specific studies or publications are limited. Additional citations are available upon request.
Styrene Risk Assessment
An updated risk assessment of styrene was completed in 2019, confirming styrene’s safety for the general population and adding to the body of knowledge on potential health effects in workplace exposures.
Styrene & Human Health
For the general population, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur from exposure to styrene via consumer products or the environment.
In normal circumstances, measured environmental concentrations of styrene in the air, water, and soil are too low to cause effects on mammals, non-mammals, or microorganisms.