May 22, 2009

Whitehouse: EPA Reforms to Toxins Assessment Process Will Improve Transparency

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) applauded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s announcement yesterday that it would revamp the process by which it determines the toxicity of chemicals.

EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assesses the impact on human health of exposure to chemical substances, to help keep people informed about risks to public health in the air, water, and soil.

“We depend on EPA to give the American people the information they need to avoid health risks from dangerous chemicals,” said Whitehouse, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight.

“But under the Bush Administration, the Office of Management and Budget was allowed to secretly exert influence over EPA’s assessment process for toxins. The Government Accountability Office said that was ‘inconsistent with the principle of sound science that relies on, among other things, transparency.’ I agree, and the Obama Administration’s reform will let some much-needed sunshine in.

“I look forward to discussing the new IRIS standards with Administrator Jackson to ensure that they are implemented in the most effective and transparent way possible.”



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