ACC Responds to HHS 12th Report on Carcinogens

June 10, 2011

Department Ignores White House Commitment to Science-based Decisions

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) today released the 12th Report on Carcinogens (12th RoC). The following statement can be attributed to Cal Dooley, President and CEO, American Chemistry Council.

“We are extremely concerned that politics may have hijacked the scientific process and believe this report by HHS is an egregious contradiction to what the President said early in his administration, ‘…That science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my administration…’

“Today’s report by HHS made unfounded classifications of both formaldehyde and styrene and will unnecessarily alarm consumers. The HHS designation on formaldehyde ignores the finding from the independent, government-mandated National Academy of Sciences report which strongly questioned whether the scientific evidence supports a connection between formaldehyde and leukemia.

“Regarding styrene, it is important to note that today’s report does not change FDA’s approval of the safe use of polystyrene in food packing. Consumers can be confident that polystyrene products have been used safely for 50 years.”


Formaldehyde is a simple chemical compound made of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, with the formula CH2O. Because of their versatility, formaldehyde-based technologies are used to produce a wide range of materials for residential construction, auto manufacturing, civilian and military aircraft equipment and health care applications. Products derived from formaldehyde have an extremely broad role in the economy, impacting the employment of 600,000 U.S. workers and indirectly impacting an additional three million people.


In addition to its use in making polystyrene, styrene is naturally present in foods such as strawberries, beef, beer, and cinnamon and is naturally produced in the processing of foods such as wine and cheese.


To put its recent report in perspective, NTP states: “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. Such formal risk assessments are the purview of the appropriate federal, state, and local health regulatory and research agencies.” So NTP has not concluded that formaldehyde, styrene or plastic foodservice packaging made with styrene present any risk to human health.


The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $674 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is one of the nation’s largest exporters, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council

Source: newswire

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