Friday, July 15, 2011

Updates To IRIS Reporting Systems

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to improve its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program as part of an ongoing effort initiated in 2009 to strengthen the program. The latest actions are in response to recommendations received from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). IRIS is a publicly available on-line database that provides high quality science-based human health assessments used to inform the agency’s decisions on protecting public health and the environment. The IRIS database includes more than 540 chemical substances, containing crucial information about how they impact human health.

Under the proposed action, all new IRIS assessment documents will be shorter, clearer and more visual, concise, and transparent. Documents will be more rigorously edited to eliminate inconsistencies and address redundancies and will include more graphical and tabular representations of data. Related discussions will also be consolidated into concise narrative descriptions. EPA will evaluate and describe the strengths and weaknesses of critical studies in a more uniform way. EPA will also indicate which criteria were most influential in evaluating the weight of the scientific evidence supporting its choice of toxicity values.

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.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.

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