Issue Date: July 16, 2007
EPA Says Database Discrepancies Are Ok
EPA says there are valid reasons that values for physical and chemical properties for a substance may differ among the agency's publicly accessible databases. This is especially true for complex mixtures, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, that are represented by a single Chemical Abstract Services number, EPA says. The agency made the determination in late June as a response to a 2004 request by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a correction of these values under the federal Information Quality Act. EPA says it has updated its chemical databases to describe their limitations and to suggest appropriate uses of the information they contain. In some cases, the agency now offers a range of values, rather than a single number, for physiochemical properties. The agency told the chamber that the information in EPA's publicly available databases "is appropriate for its intended use." William Kovacs, the chamber's vice president for environment, technology, and regulatory affairs, says the response shows that EPA won't assume responsibility for the integrity of the data it disseminates. "It has essentially said, 'Use the data at your own risk,' " Kovacs says.
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