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Chemical Assessments: EPA's New Assessment Process Will Further Limit the Productivity and Credibility of Its Integrated Risk Information System

GAO-08-810T Published: May 21, 2008. Publicly Released: May 21, 2008.
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The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to more than 540 chemicals. Toxicity assessments in the IRIS database constitute the first two critical steps of the risk assessment process, which in turn, provides the foundation for risk management decisions. Thus, IRIS is a critical component of EPA's capacity to support scientifically sound environmental decisions, policies, and regulations. This testimony discusses (1) highlights of GAO's March 2008 report, Chemical Assessments: Low Productivity and New Interagency Review Process Limit the Usefulness and Credibility of EPA's Integrated Risk Information System, and (2) key aspects of EPA's revised IRIS assessment process, released on April 10, 2008. For the March 2008 report, GAO reviewed and analyzed EPA data and interviewed officials at relevant agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). For this testimony, GAO supplemented the prior audit work with a review of EPA's revised IRIS assessment process announced on April 10, 2008.

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