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Dioxin Risk Assessment Receives Harshest Criticism Yet as Key Scientist Calls Out EPA's Assumptions as "Policy Masquerading as Science"


Contact: Scott Jensen (202) 249-6511  
Email: scott_jensen@americanchemistry.com

EPA Fails to Deliver on Promises Made in July to Improve Chemical Risk Assessments

WASHINGTON, DC - (September 1, 2011) – Just weeks after the EPA acknowledged problems with its chemical risk assessment process, the Agency was sharply criticized again – this time for its dioxin assessment. EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) released its final report which criticized EPA for deficiencies in its most recent draft assessment on dioxin. In its report, SAB panel member Dr. Karl Rozman, with the University of Kansas Medical Center, strongly disputed EPA’s conclusion that dioxin is carcinogenic stating that the EPA’s assumptions were “policy masquerading as science.”

The EPA also announced that it will fracture the dioxin assessment by breaking it into several parts: one focusing on the non-cancer risks and the other on the cancer risks, and that the 2003 dioxin reassessment will be an addendum to both the non-cancer and cancer portions. 

David Fischer, Senior Director of the American Chemistry Council, issued the following statement in response to the new developments: 

EPA Failing to Deliver on Promises

“After acknowledging problems with their chemical risk assessments in July, the EPA’s dioxin assessment has veered off course. First, experts, including the National Academy of Science, criticized EPA for ignoring sound science. Now, a key member of the SAB sharply criticized the agency for replacing science with policy. At the same time, the Agency announced that it is changing the rules by pledging to complete a partial dioxin risk assessment rather than a full risk assessment. This course of action does not deliver on EPA’s promise to improve its overall risk assessment process.” 

Dioxin Assessment Ignores Progress

"The EPA is overstating risks to drive increasingly costly regulations but with no corresponding public health benefit. Studies by the EPA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that exposure to dioxin from the environment, in the food supply, and in human blood are exceedingly low and have continued to decline. In fact, the EPA acknowledges that ‘U.S. dioxin emissions from man-made sources have declined more than 92 percent since 1987.’”

Impacts of a Flawed Dioxin Assessment Will be Significant

"As it stands EPA’s dioxin assessment will lead to unwarranted concerns about the safety of the U.S. food supply, and may lead to uncontrolled and artificial trade barriers for commodity exports, major challenges to urban renewal and brownfield redevelopment, and massive cleanup and remediation costs for states and municipalities."

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