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Styrene lawsuit hearing set for March

It will be March before the styrene industry has its next day in court in the fight to remove styrene from its recent inclusion in the 12th Report on Carcinogens.

The Styrene Information and Research Center and Dart Container Corp.’s case against Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and her department is next scheduled to appear in court for a status conference on March 28. The case is being heard in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Recent court filings lay out a schedule for motions and briefs during the next six months.

On Aug. 26, the federal government filed its answer to the Styrene Information and Research Center's legal challenge, denying the center’s allegations.

A preliminary motion by the Styrene Information and Research Center to withdraw the 12th Report on Carcinogens from publication as it relates to styrene was denied in July.

“The designation is completely unjustified by the latest science and resulted from a flawed process that focuses on only those data that support a cancer concern,” Styrene Information and Research Center executive director Jack Snyder previously told Soundings Trade Only.

Styrene, used in the building of fiberglass boats, is listed as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans, sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals and supporting data on mechanisms of carcinogenesis.”

“It is important to note that the reports do not present quantitative assessments of carcinogenic risk. … Listing in the report does not establish that such substances present a risk to persons in their daily lives,” Snyder said. “In plain language, this statement means that [the National Toxicology Program] has not concluded that styrene presents an actual human cancer risk or a risk from any of the thousands of products made with styrene.”

A coalition of groups, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association, had fought against including styrene in the report, saying additional reviews were needed using a “rigorous unbiased transparent process.”

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