EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) has been implementing a number of changes in the last couple of years, in response to criticism and concerns coming at it from all sides. As stated on its website: “These enhancements will improve productivity and scientific quality in IRIS assessments and help EPA meet the goal of producing IRIS assessments in a timely and transparent manner.” IRIS has noted that increasing “stakeholder engagement is an essential part of the enhancements.”
Simultaneously pursuing these lofty goals of increasing throughput, scientific quality, transparency and stakeholder engagement in IRIS assessments is challenging, to say the least. EDF has and will continue to emphasize the need to strike a balance between these goals, given that overemphasis on one can actually exacerbate the problems aimed to be addressed by another.
In this somewhat lengthy post, we’ll examine one such serious problem – skewed participation in IRIS’ bimonthly meetings. We’ll look at steps EPA has taken to partially address the problem, and argue that the lack of adequate disclosure by participants of conflicts of interest remains a major unaddressed contributing factor. We’ll discuss our recommendations for full disclosure and point to the strong precedents for such disclosures in other venues. Read More