Styrene is not a known human carcinogen, polystyrene does not contain or break down into BPA

24-Aug-09
Contrary to some media report, the chemical styrene is not a known human carcinogen and polystyrene plastic neither contains, nor does it break down into bisphenol A (BPA), according to Jack Snyder, executive director of the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC). A press conference focused on new, as-yet-unpublished research led by Katsuhiko Saido of Nihon University, Chiba, Japan, suggesting that plastics – notably polystyrene -- in the oceans break down, leaving products of their decomposition, including styrene monomer and styrene dimers and trimers. During the press conference, no mention was made of styrene’s potential carcinogenicity, nor was there any mention of a relationship between polystyrene and BPA, although one of the researchers did cite BPA as a potential breakdown product of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. Styrene monomer is the building-block chemical from which polystyrene is made. No authoritative body anywhere in the world considers styrene to be a known human carcinogen. Any specific statement concerning the researcher’s findings about polystyrene would be premature at this time since we have not seen and are not familiar with this work. Contrary to some media report, the chemical styrene is not a known human carcinogen and polystyrene plastic neither contains, nor does it break down into bisphenol A (BPA), according to Jack Snyder, executive director of the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC). A press conference focused on new, as-yet-unpublished research led by Katsuhiko Saido of Nihon University, Chiba, Japan, suggesting that plastics – notably polystyrene -- in the oceans break down, leaving products of their decomposition, including styrene monomer and styrene dimers and trimers. During the press conference, no mention was made of styrene’s potential carcinogenicity, nor was there any mention of a relationship between polystyrene and BPA, although one of the researchers did cite BPA as a potential breakdown product of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. Styrene monomer is the building-block chemical from which polystyrene is made. No authoritative body anywhere in the world considers styrene to be a known human carcinogen. Any specific statement concerning the researcher’s findings about polystyrene would be premature at this time since we have not seen and are not familiar with this work.
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