Boxer Statement on Changes to EPA’s Chemical Risk Assessment Program
April 10, 2008
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, made the following remarks regarding revisions to the Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) announced today.
Senator Boxer said: "In my judgment, these changes to the EPA's risk assessment program are devastating. They put politics before science by letting the White House and federal polluters derail EPA's scientific assessment of toxic chemicals. In the near future, the Government Accountability Office will be issuing a study that I requested, which addresses these issues, and we anticipate an oversight hearing on the EPA's toxics program shortly."
The policy released today gives federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), which is a major polluter, a privileged seat at the table to determine which chemicals get assessed and how those assessments are conducted. It also formalizes a new process to be run by the White House that would take place behind closed doors due to the administration's refusal to make federal agency comments public. Federal, state and international agencies use assessments to create public health protections, including drinking water standards, toxic waste cleanup levels, air pollution limits, controls on dangerous chemicals in food and consumer products, worker protections and other safeguards.