Testing for Styrene is becoming increasingly important in the workplace
The US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that human exposure to high levels of styrene may induce adverse nervous system effects.
Styrene, also known as vinyl benzene, as well as numerous other names, is an organic compound found in many manufacturing processes. Under normal conditions, this aromatic hydrocarbon is an oily liquid. It evaporates easily and has a sweet smell.
Styrene is an important synthetic material used in the making of rubber, plastic, insulation, fiberglass, pipes, automobile and boat parts, food containers and carpet backing. However exposure to high levels of styrene may induce adverse nervous system effects.
These health effects include changes in color vision, tiredness, feeling drunk, slowed reaction time, concentration problems or balance problems. Styrene is also classified as an ototoxin -- “ear poison” – which are substances that can impair hearing. Like any chemical hazard, they can be ingested, absorbed or inhaled into the body.
Studies have shown that excessive exposure to styrene on its own is enough to induce hearing loss. More severe effects can result when ototoxin exposure is combined with noise exposure. In fact, some researchers indicate that even when noise and chemicals are at permissible exposure levels, the impact of a combined exposure can do more damage than a higher exposure to either hazard alone. The result can be mild hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or total deafness.
Styrene is also classified as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The EPA has described styrene as “a suspected carcinogen” and “a suspected toxin to the gastrointestinal, kidney, and respiratory systems, among others.”
EMSL Analytical, a leading environmental testing laboratory, has many years of experience analyzing styrene in the workplace, home and throughout the environment using EPA, NIOSH, and OSHA methodologies.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and industrial hygiene services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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