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Government Classifies Styrene As Possibly Carcinogenic

Last Updated: June 10, 2011.

Styrene, found in items including foam coffee cups and takeout containers, has been added to the list of chemicals considered possibly carcinogenic to humans, according to a new U.S. government report, the 12th Report on Carcinogens.

FRIDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Styrene, found in items including foam coffee cups and takeout containers, has been added to the list of chemicals considered possibly carcinogenic to humans, according to a new U.S. government report, the 12th Report on Carcinogens.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services experts today added styrene -- along with captafol, cobalt-tungsten carbide (in powder or hard metal form), certain inhalable glass wool fibers, o-nitrotoluene, and riddelliine -- to the agency's list of substances that are "reasonably anticipated" to be carcinogenic. The report notes that the greatest exposure to styrene comes from cigarette smoke.

The report also included strong warnings about formaldehyde, which is widely used as a preservative, and aristolochic acids. The government added both of these to its list of "known" carcinogens.

"The strength of this report lies in the rigorous scientific review process," Ruth Lunn, director of the National Toxicology Program Office of the Report on Carcinogens, said in a statement.

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