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Jon Corley
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WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2018) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) released the following statement at the conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) review workshop:

“ACC was pleased to provide comment at today’s NAS workshop. However, we have serious concerns about the direction and substance of many of the comments made by EPA and many public commenters throughout the workshop.

“The statement of task provided by NAS for this review explicitly states that the purpose of the committee is to ‘assess changes that have been implemented (or plan to be implemented) by EPA in response to recommendations made in previous National Academies reports.’ It continues by stating that the public workshop would serve as ‘venue for EPA to present its changes to the IRIS program and to provide an opportunity for stakeholder input on the changes to the program.’ Unfortunately, that is not what took place during many parts of EPA’s presentations and stakeholder comments. Both repeatedly veered into unrelated issues surrounding the IRIS program and other EPA staff while also making unsubstantiated claims or complaints.

“Contrary to claims made by some during the workshop and in subsequent press coverage, the problems that have plagued the IRIS program since at least 2011 are not new and have not been caused by a lack of resources or staff. Previous NAS reports in 2011 and 2014 found serious problems with IRIS and offered sweeping recommendations to overhaul the program. If those recommendations had been fully implemented in the last eight years, the program would be operating in a more functional manner and would be able produce chemical assessments in a way that is transparent to the public, timely and reflective of the best current scientific methodologies.

“We hope that in the future NAS will be more accommodating of substantive public comment that addresses the scope of the committee’s work and discourage public comment that veers off task and is ad hominem. We trust the professionals on the NAS committee will adhere to the scope of this review and produce a full and fair scientific assessment of whether EPA has made any substantive or procedural changes to the IRIS program and if those changes adequately address the past recommendations. The value of the IRIS and its future within EPA should be left to Congress and EPA leadership to determine.”

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