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Academy Calls for More Changes at EPA

The National Research Council has just issued another report calling for substantive changes in how the Environmental Protection Agency conducts risk assessments of hazardous chemicals.

Earlier this month, an NRC panel recommended policy changes to minimize the odds of political interference in risk assessments. According to the new report, the agency should simultaneously consider risks for all chemicals that have a similar effect.

The approach is spelled out in detail for phthalates, chemicals found in baby bottles and other plastic objects, but should be applied broadly, the report urges. Considering cumulative exposure in this way would increase the estimated risk of chemicals. How the agency will use this new approach to regulate chemicals under existing law is unclear. Stay tuned for details.