New Steps to Strengthen Chemical Safety Reviews Announced By EPA

The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the undertaking of several steps designed, in large part, to enhance and improve chemical safety reviews. These efforts are intended to make sure that such reviews align with the EPA's commitment to scientific integrity. We present a brief look at the key steps announced by the Agency.

Scientific Integrity Policy

The EPA's mission to protect human health and the environment is built upon information, the scientific integrity of which is critical. According to the Agency, its Scientific Integrity Policy “provides a framework intended to ensure scientific integrity throughout the EPA and promote scientific and ethical standards, including quality standards; communications with the public; the use of peer review and advisory committees; and professional development."

Key Steps

As part of the EPA’s efforts, key steps being taken include the following:

  • Improved Requirements for Maintaining Records
    • As an important aspect of its Scientific Integrity Policy, the EPA is committed to undertaking efforts and improving requirements to help ensure that key decisions are properly documented. This documentation will also extend to opinions on those various decisions
  • Improved Process for Human Health Risk Assessments
    • Changes in the EPA New Chemicals Division’s (NCD’s) process for human health risk assessment reviews allow for improved resolution of differing scientific opinions.
  • New Chemicals Advisory Committee
    • The New Chemicals Advisory Committee, developed by the Agency's New Chemicals Division, functions to review policy and scientific issues for TSCA-related chemical substitutions.
  • OCSPP Science Policy Council
    • In addition to these efforts to improve the chemical substance review process, the EPA also recently announced the formation of another new group. Intended to function in an advisory capacity regarding scientific integrity and science policy issues, the OCSPP Science Policy Council will also serve to encourage collaboration within the Office.

More detailed information about these steps may be found on the Agency’s website.

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