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Findings Affirm IRIS Program Has Failed to Meet Key Scientific Benchmarks, Remains Broken

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2012) - The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released its report on the progress of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). The report found that "EPA faces both long-standing and new challenges in implementing the IRIS program."

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

"The report by the Government Accountability Office affirms widespread recognition, including recent comments from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), that despite a series of attempts to improve the process behind EPA's Integrated Risk Information System , the program still falls short of meeting the benchmarks of objectivity, scientific accuracy and transparency. The report shows that these longstanding problems have yet to be addressed and EPA has not developed a clear plan for fixing IRIS.

"Specifically, it's evident from the report that comprehensive improvements are still needed in the scientific process EPA employs to evaluate data and weight of evidence when determining the strengths and weaknesses of studies. In addition, the Agency needs to improve the review process to ensure that IRIS adequately incorporates changes in response to peer review and public comment. 

"The bipartisan language just approved by Congress directing EPA to follow the recent recommendations from NAS is a necessary step to get IRIS back on track and address some of the issues raised in GAO's report. ACC will continue to work with Congress, EPA and other stakeholders to seek further improvements to ensure IRIS delivers timely and credible science-based assessments."


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