ACC’s Formaldehyde Panel Urges NASEM to Provide the Public with Adequate Time to Comment at Open Meeting
A Half An Hour for Public Comments Is Nowhere Near Sufficient to Appropriately Address Decades of Complex Science on This Important Issue
WASHINGTON (October 6, 2022) — Today, the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) Formaldehyde Panel (the Panel) issued a statement calling for additional time to provide substantive public comments at next week’s open session of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee to Review EPA's 2022 Draft Formaldehyde Assessment. The meeting is on Wednesday, October 12, from 2:00pm to 5:30pm ET, and, according to the agenda, NASEM is only allowing 30 minutes for the public to be heard at this meeting.
“A half an hour for public comments is nowhere near sufficient to appropriately address the complex science on this important issue,” said Sahar Osman-Sypher on behalf of the Panel. “There is an extensive scientific database on formaldehyde. Offering the public just three minutes per speaker is insufficient to inform the committee about the critical, nuanced scientific developments that must be understood.”
“The NASEM peer review committee should welcome the opportunity to draw on the vast scientific expertise that exists from stakeholders on formaldehyde. We respectfully ask that they give this issue proper attention by providing adequate opportunities for meaningful public participation. This includes adequate time to comment,” added Osman-Sypher.
ACC’s Formaldehyde Panel has previously written NASEM requesting an information gathering session and at least four hours for public comment in order to allow scientists who have been studying formaldehyde science for decades to provide the committee with an in-depth understanding of the literature. These requests have been ignored.
The limited opportunities for public participation in this upcoming meeting is the latest troubling development in a series of continued and compounding process irregularities for developing and reviewing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2022 draft formaldehyde Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment. Assuring transparency, adherence to process, and sound science are particularly important for this draft of the formaldehyde assessment, as the previous (2010) draft was so highly problematic as to be a driver for subsequent reform of the IRIS Program.