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National Research Council Experts – October 2014

On October 15, 2014, EPA announced that the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program’s Public Science meetings will be supplemented with independent scientific experts identified by the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC). These independent experts will contribute to the scientific discussion of issues amongst EPA and public commenters. The input provided by individuals identified by the NRC will ensure that a range of scientific perspectives are represented in IRIS public science meetings.

The May 2014 NRC report, Review of EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Process, commended the new EPA initiatives to involve stakeholders in the IRIS process, but also recognized that not all stakeholders who have an interest in the IRIS process have the same scientific or financial resources to provide timely expert comments.  The NRC committee expressed a concern that the enhanced transparency and stakeholder engagement strategies employed may contribute to uneven participation among principal stakeholder groups.

EPA acknowledges concerns raised by the NRC committee regarding stakeholder participation and has noted that participation amongst stakeholder groups has been uneven during recent IRIS public science meetings.  To address the imbalance that has risen from an open registration to participate in IRIS Bimonthly Public Science Meetings, EPA has engaged the NRC to supplement the public discussions with scientific experts identified and assembled by the NRC.  These experts, who will be reviewed by the NRC for conflicts of interest and bias, will provide valuable, independent scientific input to these meetings.  The involvement of NRC experts will significantly contribute to broadening the range of perspectives represented at our public meetings.

Science and scientific integrity are the backbone of every decision, policy, and action at EPA.  The supplementation of our ongoing public meetings with independent experts identified by the NRC will help assure that overall a full and impartial representation of the science will serve as the foundation for the IRIS Program’s assessments to protect human health.