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EPA Evaluations of Significant Chemicals are Progressing

States and others interested in the health impact and future regulation of a number of significant chemicals will have multiple opportunities to learn about EPA’s activities over the next few weeks.  This includes peer review of PFOS/PFOA health effects data and the IRIS updates for arsenic and hexavalent chromium.  See detailed information below.
Peer reviewers nominated for PFOA/PFOS:   EPA published a notice in the Federal Register on April 30, 2014, inviting public comments on the interim list of candidates being considered as peer reviewers for the contractor-managed external peer review of the draft documents entitled, ‘‘Health Effects Document for Perfluorooctanoic Acid’’ and ‘‘Health Effects Document for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate.’’  The Federal Register notice provides the names, professional affiliations, expertise, education, and professional experience of the candidate reviewers.  The public is requested to provide relevant information or documentation on the candidates who are being evaluated by the contractor (Versar, Inc.). Once the public comments on the interim list of candidates have been reviewed and considered, Versar will select the final six to seven peer reviewers who, collectively, best provide expertise spanning the multiple subject matter areas covered by the draft documents and, to the extent feasible, best provide a balance of perspectives. Once the final peer reviewers are selected by Versar, a third Federal Register notice will be published at least 30 days prior to the external peer review meeting with the names of the final peer reviewers, along with information on the meeting date, location, and registration details.
Following peer review, EPA will use the documents to derive lifetime health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water. Once finalized, the lifetime health advisories are expected to supersede EPA’s provisional health advisories for PFOA and PFOS, issued in 2009. A lifetime health advisory represents the concentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse health effects during a lifetime of exposure.
PFOA and PFOS have been used in a variety of products such as stain and water repellants for carpets and upholstered furnishings, paper products, fire-fighting foams, and non-stick cookware.  Both compounds are persistent in the environment, are widespread in the blood of the general U.S. population, and are known to have adverse effects in laboratory animals. Recent epidemiology data suggest the possibility for some adverse effects on human health. EPA is currently gathering information on the occurrence of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water systems nationally under the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule.
IRIS Announcement for Arsenic & Hexavalent Chromium: EPA has scheduled the next IRIS bimonthly public science meeting for June 2527 and has released preliminary materials associated with the assessments of inorganic arsenic and hexavalent chromium. These materials are available for public comment and will be discussed at the June meeting.
IRIS bimonthly public science meetings allow the public the opportunity to provide input and participate in discussions about preliminary assessment materials and draft IRIS assessments. At the June 2014 meeting, EPA will discuss preliminary materials related to the assessments of inorganic arsenic and hexavalent chromium. These materials present study information using two very different approaches. The IRIS Program will evaluate how well each approach facilitates assessment development and promotes constructive public discussion.
At the June meeting, EPA will continue to use a new format to promote public discussion of key science issues for these assessments (See the Special Message from the IRIS Program). They will be releasing a list of suggested science meetings in the near future and soliciting your input for additional issues.  For the latest on the public meeting and to view the preliminary materials for inorganic arsenic and hexavalent chromium, please visit the IRIS website.