by Kas

The USEPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) will receive nutrient-rich fertilizer that will keep it from becoming obsolete.  IRIS provides an overall characterization of the public health risks for a given chemical in a given situation.  It is the place to go to find noncancer effects (reference doses (RfD), reference concentrations (RfC)) and cancer effects (cancer slope factors and unit risks) that may result from exposure to various substances in the environment. These kinds of numbers go into the calculations for remediation goals at Superfund sites. 

IRIS values drive regulatory and policy decisions.  For example, IRIS is the primary source of toxicity values used to develop remediation goals and screening levels at both the State and Federal level.

As of May 21, 2009, there is a new IRIS process in place.  A seven-step assessment development process should be more responsive to the needs of the USEPA and other government public health partners.  It is expected to shorten the assessment turnaround time to 23 months —and, frankly, even if it takes them 46 months per assessment, that would be a huge improvement on the unhurried, glacial pace we’ve grown accustomed to in the last decade.   The new process promises scientific quality, public comment, independent external peer review, and transparent and documented judgments.

Grow, baby, grow.

Kas is an industrial hygienist studying public health in the DC metro area.