Senators: EPA is Cherry-Picking Science in New Chemical Risk Assessment
EPA fails to bring credibility back to chemical science program- chronic issues persist that may require additional guidance
June 25, 2014
Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), sent a letter to Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regarding how the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) conducts chemical risk assessments. In the letter, the Senators question the science used in OCSPP's workplan chemical risk assessment on trichloroethylene (TCE) and reiterate that EPA has failed to restore credibility to the chemical risk assessment program.
"The credibility of the assessment will hinge upon the weight of the scientific evidence, which is supposed to be based upon the best available science. However, the study used clearly deviates from any notions of working toward higher scientific standards in response to recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences," wrote the Senators. "As there continue to be significant challenges with your Agency's ability to produce credible sound science in a transparent manner, we will continue to investigate OCSPP, its scientific findings, and the processes used for promoting individuals to senior-level positions, who ultimately have decision-making authority on chemical risk assessments."
In the letter, the Senators request additional information related to the underlying studies used to develop the TCE risk assessment, as well as information related to matters of scientific misconduct by the lead scientist on the assessment.
On June 16, 2014, Vitter sent a letter to Dr. Francesca Grifo, the Science Integrity Official for EPA requesting their research data, suggesting there may be some data-related misconduct. Multiple National Academy of Sciences' reviews of EPA's chemical risk assessment has criticized EPA's work on formaldehyde, inorganic arsenic, and endocrine disrupters.