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EPA's Continued Failure to Address Concerns Leads to Delayed Dioxin Reassessment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 1, 2012) - The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) missing its deadline to publish the first half of the dioxin reassessment. After receiving another round of criticism from an expert panel, the EPA split the reassessment into two, saying the other half would be published later in 2012.
"ACC supports the strong regulation of dioxin based on sound science and urges the EPA to work with the Administration and other agencies to publish a complete dioxin reassessment that addresses the multiple concerns outlined by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and other reputable scientists. While we would like to see EPA complete the dioxin reassessment, it is clear that the EPA has more work to do in order for the Agency to release a complete and scientifically defensible assessment.
"For years, a broad and consistent chorus of scientists, experts, other federal agencies and stakeholders has expressed strong concerns that the draft dioxin reassessment is significantly flawed and at odds with international standards developed by the European Union and World Health Organization. The criticism focuses on three key areas: the dioxin reassessment uses flawed assumptions and is scientifically unsound, provides no defined public health benefit, and is likely to create severe negative economic consequences for farmers, communities, states and the food supply.
"A Congressionally mandated NAS review in 2006 identified significant scientific flaws with the dioxin reassessment, which were reiterated in two subsequent Science Advisory Panels (SAB) in 2011. Remarkably, the EPA continues to stall progress on completing the reassessment by ignoring these prestigious panels, and still has not adopted the recommended corrections.
"Furthermore, the draft dioxin reassessment ignores years of progress stemming from sound regulation and industry environmental stewardship that has resulted in the dramatic decline in environmental levels of dioxin. According to the EPA, dioxin releases related to industrial activity have declined dramatically-by 92 percent over the past two decades. In fact, backyard trash burning is now the primary source of emissions.
"Contrary to the President's Executive Order, the EPA has not considered the economic impact of the dioxin reassessment. Since the EPA contends the primary route of human exposure to dioxin is through food, the draft reassessment could not only mislead and frighten consumers about the safety of their diets, but could have significant economic implications on U.S. food producers. Furthermore, this flawed dioxin reassessment could stifle job growth, jeopardize land-based tax revenues, and harm brownfield redevelopment.   
"Given the EPA's inaction on this important issue, we are encouraged that Congress is taking the initiative to resolve this issue. Previous actions by Democratically-controlled Congress had requested the NAS panel studies to review EPA's reassessment. This Congress recently passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (HR 2055), which included critical provisions to advance the scientific integrity of EPA's chemical risk assessment program.  We support this legislation and trust it will lead to the reforms necessary to correct the dioxin reassessment and the EPA's overall chemical risk assessment program."


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