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Proposed Legislation Would Improve Expert Panel Selection,
Limit Conflicts of Interest and Enhance Systematic Reviews

WASHINGTON (Dec. 18, 2013) - Senators Boozman (R-AR) and Manchin (D-WV) introduced  legislation to reform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) and its subcommittees. The bipartisan EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act would improve the process for selecting experts to serve on EPA's scientific advisory panels and would strengthen public participation in the reviews that serve as the foundation for many important regulatory decisions. The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Crapo (R-ID), Sessions (R-AL), Vitter (R-LA) and Wicker (R-MS).

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement in response:

"A strong peer review process is the hallmark of a scientifically sound chemical assessment program and critically important to instilling confidence in the EPA's decisions. Senators Boozman and Manchin along with their colleagues have taken an important step to ensure that EPA follows the best available science by proposing legislation that would strengthen the integrity of the expert advisory panels that are charged with critically reviewing the Agency's chemical assessments.

"Not only would this bill lead to improvements in how panels are formed by eliminating conflicts of interest and increasing disclosures, but it would also improve scientific discourse and the final assessment by having peer review panels respond to public comments on panel evaluations, ensuring that legitimate scientific concerns are transparently addressed. The need for a more effective 'honest broker' was recently made clear by EPA's failure to adequately address the concerns raised by the expert advisory panel that reviewed EPA's draft methanol assessment under its IRIS program .

"ACC and our  members urge the Senate to act quickly and pass this bipartisan legislation, which will strengthen EPA's chemical assessment program and foster scientifically based public health decisions, while at the same time encouraging innovation and economic growth."

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