IRIS


Roy Luck/Flickr

EPA Watchdog Report Reveals a Failure to Talk to Communities with Higher Ethylene Oxide Health Risks

, Lead science and policy analyst

The EPA’s watchdog, the Office of Inspector General (IG), released a report this week that highlights how inadequate EPA’s communication around the hazardous air pollutant, ethylene oxide, has been in communities that need information most. The IG’s report confirms what communities have been saying for months and recommends that EPA take urgent action to engage with all communities near ethylene oxide-emitting facilities to let them know about the real and present dangers associated with exposure. Read more >

Photo: Roy Luck/Flickr
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EPA Must Keep Communities Safe from Ethylene Oxide Cancer Risks

, Lead science and policy analyst

This morning, I found myself back at EPA headquarters in downtown Washington, DC, asking EPA a second time to do something that should be obvious: listen to its own scientists and use the best available science to protect communities from hazardous air pollution. Read more >

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Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr

Administrator Wheeler is Hiding the Truth About Formaldehyde

, Lead science and policy analyst

The Union of Concerned Scientists along with the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Environmental Protection Network asked EPA’s Scientific Integrity office to investigate what seems to be political interference that occurred at the EPA in its recent suspension of the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) formaldehyde risk assessment. In his responses to senators’ questions about the assessment earlier this year, Wheeler claimed that “Formaldehyde was not identified as a top priority.” But, in documents obtained through FOIA request, the Union of Concerned Scientists found evidence that EPA staff was not only interested in the formaldehyde risk assessment, but as of 2017 the air office had a “strong interest in the review and are anxious to see it completed.” Read more >

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Photo: Roy Luck/Flickr

EPA Needs to Trust Its Own Scientists and Protect Us from Ethylene Oxide

, Lead science and policy analyst

The EPA is holding a public hearing related to its proposed rule on facilities producing hydrochloric acid (HCl). In addition to HCl, many of these sites emit ethylene oxide, a flammable colorless gas that EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) determined was carcinogenic to humans back in 2016. According to the proposed rule, communities near these facilities experience a lifetime cancer risk of 600-in-1-million, which is six times EPA’s unsafe level. What is the agency doing to protect people from this risk? There is no regulatory action proposed in the rulemaking—instead, the agency is asking for comment on the use of the IRIS ethylene oxide risk value for “regulatory purposes,” calling into question the work of its own scientists in the IRIS program. Read more >

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Rigor and Transparency as an Antidote to Politicization at EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System

, Lead science and policy analyst

A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study committee charged with reviewing advances made to the EPA’s National Center for Environment Assessment and its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program met at the NAS headquarters in DC this week. Over a day and a half, IRIS presented the full slate of activities that the program has been engaging in to modernize and improve the ways that the program is completing its hazard assessment and dose response evaluations. Read more >

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