One of the biggest opportunities in the area of toxic chemical regulation and reform is the ceaseless march of our scientific knowledge. In fact, as I previously noted, while government policy toward stemming the tide of toxic chemicals has stagnated, the amount of solid scientific information about the hazards posed by a number of existing chemicals such as endocrine disruptors has multiplied dramatically.
In fact, the National Academy of Sciences recently published three very helpful new reports:
- Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment, which covers new science in risk assessment.
- Phthalates and Cumulative Risk Assessment, which reviews the feasibility and desirability of assessing the cumulative risks of multiple chemical exposures.
- Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy, which explores rapid and effective testing methods to assess inherent hazard.
These reports have many findings and conclusions that support positions that the environmental community has promoted for years, and very few that support the status quo.
As such, the NAS reports provide extremely valuable basis for the need for chemical policy reform. EPA and Congress should follow NAS advice on the most crucial elements for reform.
Furthermore, the scientists who worked on the panels for each of these reports are now both informed and highly credible experts for hearings and legislative debates and well as for workshops or small meetings with Agency staff working to apply the best science to decision-making.
Tomorrow: Wrapping up with a special focus on endocrine disruptors.