CAW National Council 4000
Occupational Health and Safety

Hazardous Substances:  Styrene

Styrene can produce ill-health effects when inhaled, swallowed, or when it comes in contact with eyes or skin.

Short-Term Effects

Styrene may irritate the eyes, nose, mouth, upper respiratory tract and skin. More severe exposure may cause a person to become
sleepy or unconscious. The central nervous system may be affected with paralysis of the respiratory centre.

Long-Term Effect

Repeated skin contact with styrene may produce a skin rash. Prolonged exposure may affect the blood-forming system, particularly
the formation of white blood cells, so that the body’s defense mechanism against bacteria is reduced. Prolonged exposure can also
have a narcotic effect. Damage of the liver results in the symptoms of hepatitis, namely nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and a
general feeling of illness. Continued and prolonged irritation of the bronchial tree may result in the symptoms of bronchitis. Styrene
is a carcinogen in animals and therefore a possible carcinogen in humans.


Enclose process
Local exhaust ventilation
General dilution ventilation
Personal protective equipment


ACGIH 50 ppm (213 mg/m3), to be changed to 20 ppm (85 mg/m3).
U.S. NIOSH recommendation 50 ppm.

Source:  CAW Health, Safety & Environment Department