WASHINGTON – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved legislation today that addresses long-standing problems with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).

The Improving Science in Chemical Assessments Act (H.R. 6468), sponsored by Environment Subcommittee Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act to require that chemical hazard identification and dose response assessments previously conducted by the IRIS program be carried out by the relevant national program office within the EPA.

The IRIS program has been the subject of criticism from both the National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office for a lack of transparency, deficient procedures, and improper science. These findings were confirmed in a recent Committee hearing on the IRIS program. H.R. 6468 addresses these by ensuring the underlying scientific data used in EPA’s chemical toxicity assessments is complete, relevant, and reproducible. The Biggs bill also requires the EPA to integrate all lines of scientific evidence and its office of Research and Development to certify that each chemical assessment meets the scientific standards in the legislation.

Chairman Smith:

“Protecting the health of Americans is a serious responsibility and it must be done with fairness, transparency, and the best available science. This bill addresses serious deficiencies identified by the Committee with the chemical assessment process at EPA. It ensures that these assessments are conducted with rigorous scientific standards.”

Chairman Biggs:

“Over the past decade, IRIS has been repeatedly criticized by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office and the National Academy of Sciences for its lack of transparency and reliance on faulty research. My bill ensures that future chemical assessments will be carried out only when necessary, will be subject to proper oversight, and will rely on the best available scientific methods.”

The full text of the bill is available here.