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NAS statements on 2 chemicals focus on potential hazard not actual risk arising from exposure to these substances.

WASHINGTON (July 19, 2017) – The National Academies of Sciences yesterday released a new report, proposing that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve its risk evaluation programs and reevaluate its determinations for human health effects of chemicals at low doses. The American Chemistry Council released the following statement in response.

“Based on our initial review, the NAS report appears to offer constructive recommendations to improve EPA’s risk evaluation programs, including the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, established to evaluate chemicals for potential effects on the endocrine system. In particular, we fully agree with the NAS recommendation that any systematic review of substances must rely on studies that have been confirmed as robust and reliable—a standard of credibility that is imperative given the intense debate and widespread misinformation regarding endocrine active substances.

Many of the NAS recommendations are consistent with ACC’s long standing calls for EPA to improve the design and conduct of chemical assessments. ACC’s Principles for Chemical Hazard and Risk Assessments also recommend establishing clear protocols and criteria for selecting and evaluating studies for integration into risk assessments; enhancing transparency and requiring robust peer review.

While we agree with a number of the NAS recommendations related to systematic review, the NAS statements regarding the two individual chemicals examined by the committee refer to potential hazard—the inherent properties of a chemical substance that make it capable of causing harm to a person; not actual risk—the likelihood of harm actually occurring. The report makes clear that the committee did not consider exposure to a given population nor did it perform a risk assessment on the substances. Therefore, the report does not speak to the level of risk, if any, arising from a particular exposure to these chemical substances nor any potential for them to cause health effects in humans. 

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