California Rep Disappointed in EPA Delaying Health Assessment for Hexavalent Chromium

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) told EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a letter last week, that he is “deeply disappointed” that the Agency has delayed its health assessment of the controversial contaminant, hexavalent chromium and called on EPA to complete its review quickly. Schiff was responding to EPA’s announcement at the end of last month that it will delay its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of hexavalent chromium while it waits on the results of a multimillion-dollar, industry-funded, peer-reviewed study. The delay, Schiff said, could add three years to EPA’s timeline for finalizing the assessment because the Agency is combining its reviews of ingestion and inhalation exposures to the chemical. Separately, Schiff called on officials in his home state of California (where there have been many cases of hexavalent chromium contamination) to quickly set a stricter drinking water standard for the chemical.

A September 2010 peer review draft IRIS Toxicological Review of hexavalent chromium proposed to classify hexavalent chromium as likely carcinogenic to humans when ingested. Based on the recommendations of the external peer review panel, EPA will consider the results of the above-mentioned new research before finalizing the IRIS assessment. As a result of all this, EPA anticipates that a revised draft assessment for hexavalent chromium will be released for public comment and external peer review in 2013, and that a final assessment will be completed by 2015. When the toxicologcal review is completed, EPA will consider this information when determining whether the drinking water standard for total chromium needs to be revised or a new hexavalent chromium standard needs to be established. At that time, additional occurrence data could be available from UCMR3 monitoring. In its UCMR3 proposal, EPA asked for comments on including hexavalent chromium in UCMR3, but the final regulation has not yet been published.