National Academies Lauds IRIS for “Substantial Progress”
A report issued in April by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine praises EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System for incorporating systematic- review methods into its process and assessments. The report is the third National Academies publication since 2011 to review IRIS, which produces hazard and dose-response assessments of environmental chemicals and derives toxicity values that can be used to estimate risks of exposures. Previous reports made specific recommendations for EPA to improve the IRIS program’s general processes; integration of evidence from different data streams (for example, human, animal, and mechanistic data); and derivation of toxicity values. In each area, EPA has made “substantial progress,” according to the new report, although it also notes that the IRIS program remains “a work in progress” and should continue to evolve with the development of new scientific practices. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and chair of the committee that wrote the report, said in a National Academies press release, “The changes in the IRIS program over such a short period of time are impressive. We see a substantial commitment at EPA to use systematic-review methods in conducting assessments, which are important for identifying, evaluating, and summarizing the findings from current literature and integrating the evidence available to inform decisions.” The report “Progress Toward Transforming the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program” can be downloaded as a PDF.
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