Plastics And Resin Manufacturing Fear Repercussions
By Ron Link, Renewable Energy & Finacial Sustianability Consultant
A quick update on what has happened since Styrene, an agent found in polystyrene, was added to the U.S. Health Departments list of possible Carcinogens, in June of 2011.
Upon that announcement the plastic lobby went right to work to discredit the report. You see the plastics and resin manufacturing industries own reports admit on thing readily, much money there is in plastics! In a report published by the industry, it says that the they rely on “demand from two key buying sectors: downstream manufacturers and the construction sector.” Because of the recent recession, growth in the industry has been “tepid”; rising at an average annual rate of only 0.7% in the five years up to 2013. Perhaps this explains why the industry lobby and other affiliated lobby groups are pushing hard in Washington to squash information about this petroluem based chemical has been scientifically tested and identified by the National Istitute of Health to “likely cause cancer.”
Read Nicholas Kristof’s Opinion piece in the New York Times:
According to an article 76 scientists wrote a joint letter to Congress noting that the World Health Organization also listed styrene as a possible carcinogen. The scientists defended the 2011 Report on Carcinogens as “consistent with international scientific consensus.”
The article goes on to say “The American Chemistry Council is working to delay and ultimately destroy” the Report on Carcinogens, the scientists wrote.
What? Why? Perhaps it is because of the massive size of the Plastics and Resin Manufacturing Industry? Just this industry alone reported revenues of $103.2 billion annually in 2012-13.
Just this past May, the chemical industry was dealt a big blow when federal judge, Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, decided in Styrene Information and Research Center, Inc. v HHS, DC Cir. No. 11-0179, 5/15/13) that styrene can be listed as a “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” in a government report that provided a rational explanation for the listing adequately supported by the administrative record. Styrene is used to make plastics, rubber, resins and single use to go products. According to the EPA each year American’s throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will be sitting in a landfill. The annual U.S. styrene production capacity in 2008 was 12.2 billion pounds, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Adding it all up, the only hope for the general public is information. Consumers must be wary of business fearful of losing market share trying obfuscate and confuse them about dangerous cancer-causing chemicals that are ever present in their daily lives! Powerful forces are at work to delay and destroy the public learning about the impact of styrene as a cause of cancer.
As incentive to remove styrofoam from the waste stream grows even stronger, now is the time to educate users and abusers of polystyrene, that properly handled, with safeguards in place, there is a place for Styrofoam. Just not in our bodies.