Contact: Scott Openshaw (202) 249-6504  

WASHINGTON (July 31, 2013) - The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement in response to the rollout of new " enhancements " to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) :

"We commend the EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment under Dr. Olden's leadership for its commitment to make much needed improvements to the Agency's chemical assessment program. We look forward to the day when enhancements to improve the science of IRIS assessments are fully developed and adopted.

"Recent flawed assessments underscore the need for a comprehensive upgrade of the program rather than adopting an approach that does not improve chemical assessments already underway. For that reason, enhancements to the IRIS program must be applied to future assessments as well as assessments currently in progress. This is paramount to ensuring the program and its processes are credible, transparent, accessible to stakeholders and the public, and most importantly, effective.

"ACC is committed to constructive engagement with EPA to help speed the development and adoption of the new approaches and methods that are mentioned in the EPA enhancements. Among the program's most critical needs are consistent and transparent study evaluation methods, a scientifically-grounded framework for integrating study results based on a weight-of-evidence approach, and further opportunities for stakeholder engagement and input on chemical assessments. Improved dialogue and a willingness to engage with outside experts, in particular, will help speed up the process of implementing a transparent, science-based chemical assessment program.

"ACC and its  members will continue to support EPA's efforts to further enhance the IRIS program so it can produce high-quality, scientifically sound chemical assessments. We look forward to reviewing and commenting in detail on the enhancements and new stopping rules in the coming days."

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