Styrene Styrene, also known as vinylbenzene, is a clear, colorless to yellow, oily liquid that has a sweet odor at low concentrations. It is used in the manufacture of plastics, paints, synthetic rubbers, protective coatings and resins. Styrene Hazard Overview Solutions Regulations Learn More What are the hazards associated with styrene? Health effects resulting from exposure to styrene are associated with the level and duration of exposure. Acute (high) exposures to styrene may result in respiratory effects, such as mucous membrane irritation, eye irritation and gastrointestinal effects. Chronic exposure to styrene may affect the central nervous system (CNS), with symptoms such as headache, fatigue, weakness, depression and CNS dysfunction. Styrene has been tested for its potential to cause cancer in humans. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) has classified styrene as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has given styrene a classification of 2B (Possibly Carcinogenic in Humans). Physical hazards attributed to styrene monomer are principally associated with its flammability. Styrene monomer is classified as a Category 3 flammable liquid. What can I do to protect myself? Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used to prevent or minimize exposure. Gloves, eye protection and other PPE may be necessary to prevent skin contact. Additionally, respiratory protection may be needed if exposure levels exceed the limits set in standard. What resources are available to assist employers? Safety and Health Programs Example programs applicable to occupational exposure to beryllium and can be customized to fit individual workplaces include hazard communication program, respiratory protection program and PPE hazard assessment. Training and Outreach Services Presentations that may also assist the employer with their training requirements include hazard communication, respiratory protection and personal protective equipment. The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. In addition, the following pre-recorded webinars are also available to assist with training; respiratory protection and hazard communication. Further, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). A-Z Safety and Health Topics Related resources can be found on the A-Z topics pages for respiratory protection, hazard communication, and personal protective equipment. Consultation Services The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards. Which standards apply? OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to styrene in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. General industry 29 CFR 1910.106 - flammable liquids 29 CFR 1910.1000 - air contaminants 29 CFR 1910.1020 - access to employee exposure and medical records (applicable to general industry, maritime and construction) 29 CFR 1910.1200 - hazard communication Maritime, Shipyard Employment 29 CFR 1915.36 - flammable liquids 29 CFR 1915.1000 - air contaminants 29 CFR 1915.1200 - hazard communication Construction 29 CFR 1926.55 - gases, vapors, fumes, dusts and mists 29 CFR 1926.59 - hazard communication 29 CFR 1926.152 - flammable liquids Other Applicable Standards The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite. Where can I learn more? Industry Guides Industry Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to occupational exposure to styrene in construction. Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to occupational exposure to styrene in general industry. Industry Guide 53 - OSHA Shipyard Employment Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training highlights the requirements of standards related to styrene in shipyard employment. Technical Assistance If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to email@example.com or by calling 919-707-7876.