Chemical Risk Assessments for TSCA
A report by the Government Accountability Office released in March revealed that EPA leadership delayed several chemical risk assessments that were being developed by the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System program, or IRIS, during 2018. The risk assessments are required by the 2016 Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Information from the report and related sources appears below. Numbers are accurate as of March 2019.
From “Status of EPA’s Efforts to Produce Assessments and Implement the Toxic Substances Control Act”: “[I]n early June 2018 EPA leadership in [its Office of Research and Development] informed [IRIS officials] that the IRIS Program could not release an assessment without a formal request for that assessment from the current leadership of a program office. IRIS officials prepared a survey of program and regional offices, asking them to re-confirm their needs for 20 assessments that were in development. This survey was sent by memorandum in August 2018. . . . While survey responses were being compiled, EPA leadership in ORD instructed the IRIS Program not to publicly release any assessment documentation. As a result, any assessment or subsidiary assessment document . . . that was ready for agency review, public comment, or peer review was unable to proceed through the IRIS assessment development process.”

C&EN: “U.S. EPA Delayed, Dropped Chemical Risk Assessments(March 2019). U.S. Government Accountability Office: “Status of EPA’s Efforts to Produce Assessments and Implement the Toxic Substances Control Act” (PDF, March 2019).

Tap on the graphic to open a larger version in your browser.
In August, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a student intern and a researcher at Oak Ridge Associated Universities had devised an experiment to replicate the McCluskey incident in order to study the effects of radiation on the body. By irradiating vials of their own blood for different lengths of time, the researchers hope to generate data that clinicians and first responders can refer to following an exposure incident.

Read more from the News Sentinel.