(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, made the following statement regarding the National Academies review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) process for chemical assessments.

“Overall, the changes that EPA has proposed show’s some initial improvements in their chemical assessment process, but by no means is this report a reason to spike the football,” Vitter said.  “Chemical safety is a top priority, and we need to ensure that the EPA’s basic goals are to develop assessments that provide an evidence-based foundation for ensuring that chemical hazards are assessed and managed well. If the EPA actually implements the National Academies suggestions, the process will slowly move to becoming much more effective and credible but this is just a first step and they have a long way to go.”

Vitter has long been pushing to have the EPA implement recommendations from the National Academies on chemical assessments and has been effective on several accounts including the 2011 formaldehyde assessment review which led to the ongoing changes in the IRIS program.  Additional efforts to improve EPA’s chemical science include forcing EPA to withdraw using work from the Ramazzini Institute in multiple chemical assessments, including methanol. Vitter raised additional concerns when EPA continued to have problems with its inorganic arsenic assessment in 2013.  

In December 2013, Dr. Burke, President Obama’s nominee to lead EPA’s Office of Research and Development had positive comments saying he shared the same goals to promote better science at the agency. Click here to read his comments.

You can access the National Academies of Science review here