EPA’s Risk Assessment Process Needs An Upgrade | December 8, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 49 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 49 | p. 26 | Concentrates
Issue Date: December 8, 2008

EPA’s Risk Assessment Process Needs An Upgrade

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE

The process used by EPA to evaluate the safety of chemicals needs to be streamlined to ensure that risk assessments use appropriate scientific data and are relevant to decisionmakers, concludes a report from the National Research Council. The report recommends that EPA keep the core of its current risk assessment framework—hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization—but expand the framework to include more planning and evaluation of risk management options up front so that assessments are more likely to address the problem at hand. The report also calls for technical improvements such as better uncertainty and variability analyses, as well as a more unified dose-response assessment for both cancer and noncancer effects. The recommendations should help EPA address multiple chemical exposures and risks, as well as susceptibility in various populations, but implementing them will require better agency coordination and communication and additional funding, the report states.

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