Styrene is an essential component of unsaturated polyester resins. It both solubilises the resin and aids the cross-linking in the cure phase.
Styrene is classified as harmful and flammable. The current UK WEL is 100ppm Max (8hr TWA). There is a voluntary industry code of practise to work below 50ppm. It should be noted that the OEL in most other EU states is considerably lower.
Under REACH there is a programme of work to harmonise the classification and OEL of styrene in the EU.
Further information can be found at: www.upresins.org.