Contact: Scott Jensen (202) 249-6511  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 17, 2011) - Today, Congress approved an omnibus bill that includes language requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make improvements to the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program . The improvements include implementing the recommendations from Chapter 7 of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on EPA's draft assessment of  formaldehyde and submitting a progress report to Congress regarding all ongoing and future assessments. In addition, the bill calls for a NAS review of the conclusions for formaldehyde and styrene in the National Toxicology Program's 12th Report on Carcinogens.

ACC President and CEO  Cal Dooley issued the following statement regarding this important development:

"With today's bipartisan vote requiring improvements to EPA's IRIS program and NAS review of two parts of the 12th Report on Carcinogens, Congress has taken an important step to improve the science used by the Obama Administration to make public health determinations.

"EPA's current approach to assessing chemicals under the IRIS program is untenable and in need of a comprehensive overhaul, as was made clear by the NAS review of the formaldehyde IRIS report and in two hearings in the House this year. The changes called for by NAS and now required by Congress will not only improve the quality of science used by EPA, but will also provide for much needed transparency and objectivity in the program. Requiring EPA to report to Congress its progress on incorporating the NAS recommendations into the program and into individual assessments will lead to a better understanding of how decisions are made under IRIS and help keep the Agency on track. 

"Questionable assessment of chemicals has also created significant concern about the National Toxicology Program's 12th Report on Carcinogens. By requiring a thorough scientific peer review by NAS of the formaldehyde and styrene sections of the 12th RoC, Congress has ensured that accurate, credible information about these two widely used chemicals will be communicated to the public.  

"While today's vote will help improve the science at EPA and NTP, there is still more work to be done. ACC will continue to work with Congress and EPA to make further improvements to the IRIS program that will ensure it delivers timely and credible science-based assessments. And ACC will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the principles of scientific integrity, transparency and accuracy are applied in all chemical assessments."

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