This week, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) filed extensive comments on proposed revisions to the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Handbook, a methodology used to assess chemical risks. The comments were filed on behalf of several ACC chemical-specific groups, including its Formaldehyde Panel of which CPA is a member. ACC’s recommendations are highly technical, and an Executive Summary is available.
The Handbook revisions were requested several years ago by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), following its review of the IRIS process. The IRIS process, which has long been criticized by both industry and academia, was shelved during the Trump Administration, in exchange for the use of the 2018 Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA) Systemic Review Process. New leadership in the Biden EPA have signaled that the agency will no longer use the TSCA process to assess priority chemicals, potentially including the ongoing formaldehyde risk assessment, under the requirements of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act of 2016. How this change in direction will impact overall TSCA chemical assessment, and more specifically formaldehyde, is not presently clear, and will likely await the completion of a final version of the IRIS Handbook. See ACC Comments, ACC Executive Summary and EPA TSCA Review Process