BOSSES at a factory near Bromsgrove have reassured residents that chemicals they use do not pose a health risk, following reports of a spill of the same substance recently in the English Channel.

Parish councillors in Stoke Prior said at their meeting last Monday residents were concerned after reading about the possible carcinogenic -- cancer-causing -- effects of styrene. The substance is used at the PolymerLatex plant in Westonhall Road.

After a tanker sank in the channel last week carrying the chemical, environmental groups warned that it was highly dangerous.

Council chairman Tony Friel said: "There seems to be a number of people near the area who are concerned it might be carcinogenic."

District councillor John Tidmarsh (Con, Stoke Prior) said the council held PolymerLatex to very stringent standards of safety and the firm were very co-operative.

PolymerLatex managing director Graham Reed told the Advertiser/Messenger: "We understand the concerns of local residents.

"I can confirm that the tanker was in no way associated with PolymerLatex and the cargo was not being delivered to our Stoke Works factory."

He said that reports attributed to Greenpeace that styrene was carcinogenic are incorrect, and the Government regulations on chemicals do not identify it as causing cancer.