Oct. 31, 2019

New Report Evaluates EPA's Ongoing Assessment of Inorganic Arsenic

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine finds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approach to its ongoing Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment plan is appropriate for synthesizing the scientific evidence and quantifying estimates of inorganic arsenic toxicity.

IRIS assessments identify hazards and associated adverse health outcomes for a wide variety of chemicals. In 2013, the National Academies were asked to independently review EPA’s plan to update its IRIS assessment of inorganic arsenic and make recommendations to strengthen the EPA’s approach.  The report released today evaluates the agency’s updated plan and ongoing assessment, and finds that the agency addressed many of the recommendations made in the 2013 National Academies report.

The new report concludes that EPA’s approach should ensure several issues are addressed in completing the inorganic arsenic IRIS assessment, such as transparency and communication, prioritization of health outcomes, early life exposures, and systematic review methods. Overall, the report finds EPA has implemented a sophisticated methodology that will allow it to use data from multiple epidemiological studies to determine the dose-response in the observed range.

One member of the committee that wrote the report dissented with regard to the adequacy of dose-response methods. A statement by this committee member and a rebuttal can be found in Appendix A of the report.

DETAILS: Review of EPA’s Updated Problem Formulation and Protocol for the Inorganic Arsenic IRIS Assessment is available for immediate release. Media inquiries should be directed to the National Academies’ Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail news@nas.edu.