A federal court in the District of Columbia has allowed the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) to include styrene in its 12th Report on Carcinogens. Styrene Info. & Research Ctr., Inc. v. HHS, No. 11-01079 (D.D.C. 5/15/13). Industry participants challenged the HHS styrene listing, claiming failure to apply proper procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act, Information Quality Act and Federal Advisory Committee Act, and alleging that the report was arbitrary and capricious. They also challenged the way published scientific data were used in the development of the recommendation to list styrene.
The court found that plaintiffs had conceded HHS’s defense that the expert panel’s process was unreviewable, and the court could not identify any “judicially manageable standards” to evaluate the peer-review process. The court found that it could not overturn the inclusion of styrene as arbitrary and capricious because HHS’s reasons for the listing “more than satisfy [the] ‘minimal standards of rationality’” required to uphold the listing.