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As of June 17, 2020, there are 4969 open recommendations, of which 518 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To develop timely chemical risk information that EPA needs to effectively conduct its mission, the Administrator, EPA, should require the Office of Research and Development to re-evaluate its draft proposed changes to the IRIS assessment process in light of the issues raised in this report and ensure that any revised process periodically assesses the level of resources that should be dedicated to this significant program to meet user needs and maintain a viable IRIS database.
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: As of February 2020, EPA officials indicated that the IRIS Program had almost completed internal review of a "Handbook for Developing IRIS Assessments," intended to guide staff through the sequential stages of the IRIS assessment process and ensure consistency across assessments. The Handbook, when finalized and used by staff, codifies the agency's effort to reevaluate their assessment process, but doesn't address the resources that should be dedicated to the IRIS Program. A workforce plan that includes both staff and budget resources consistent with user needs is necessary. As we reported in March 2019, the program has made strides utilizing project management software and project management techniques that enable the IRIS Program to better plan assessment schedules and utilize staff. However, we also reported in March 2019 that the President's budget requests since fiscal year 2018 have repeatedly cut the budget by as much as 40 percent for the Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (HERA) area, of which IRIS is a part. While these cuts were not enacted by Congress, the President's fiscal year 2021 budget request again cuts the HERA program by 34 percent, or approximately $12.7 million dollars. These cuts could have an impact on the IRIS program's ability to meet EPA program and regional office needs, if enacted by Congress.