WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to improve its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. IRIS is a publicly available online database that provides science-based human health assessments used to inform the agency’s decisions on protecting public health and the environment.
With the improvements, all new IRIS assessment documents will be shorter, clearer and more visual, concise, and transparent. IRIS users can expect to see a reduced volume of text and increased clarity and transparency of data, methods and decision criteria.
To make the scientific rationale behind the assessments and toxicity values as transparent as possible, the EPA will evaluate and describe the strengths and weaknesses of critical studies in a more uniform way. The EPA will also indicate which criteria were most influential in evaluating the weight of the scientific evidence supporting its choice of toxicity values.
The EPA will also create a new peer consultation step early in the development of major IRIS assessments to enhance the input of the scientific community as assessments are designed. For more information about IRIS, visit www.epa.gov/iris.
Also in the news, EPA is proposing a regulatory procedure requiring companies to report new uses of chemicals known as glymes in consumer products. EPA’s proposed action is based in part on concerns that additional uses of these 14 chemicals in consumer products could lead to harmful reproductive and developmental health effects.
The proposed regulatory procedure is known as a significant new use rule (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The SNUR would ensure that, prior to the manufacture, import or processing of these chemicals for a significant new use, EPA will have 90 days to evaluate potential risks and prohibit or limit the activity if warranted.