Daily News Archive
From April 11, 2006                                                                                                        

EPA Attempts to Improve Risk Assessment, Consider Multiple Exposures
(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2006) For years pesticide activists and advocates of toxics use reduction have been citing the failure of risk assessment methodology to consider what is the real life scenario, that the public is exposed in multiple ways to a multiple of chemicals that have multiple and additive health effects. Now, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be developing an alternative risk assessment approach that will attempt to characterize real risks. EPA announced a 45-day public comment period for the draft of “Considerations for Developing Alternative Health Risk Assessment Approaches for Addressing Multiple Chemicals, Exposures and Effect,” in the (External Review Draft) March 31, 2006 Federal Register Notice.

Currently, EPA has no tools to quantify the interaction of various stressors affecting the health status of a community. The standard approach that EPA uses focuses on the chemicals or pesticides and hypothetical receptor populations, now it will focus on predicting risk to actual populations affected.

The new approach will include:
· grouping chemicals based on exposure characteristics and toxic endpoints for use in applying chemical mixtures risk assessment methods,
· assessing multi-route exposure combinations using relative potency factors,
· integration of categorical regression modeling of multiple effects with additivity approaches, and
· emphasis on the iteration and collaboration between exposure assessment and dose-response assessment to ensure compatible and relevant information.

This approach has been demanded of EPA for a decade by federal statutes such as the Food Quality Protection Act. It requires EPA to assess “risks from all pathways of dietary and nondietary exposures to more than one pesticide.” The concept is also part of the agency’s strategic goals, such as clean, safe water, and, its goal of sound science includes development of improved models to better estimate human exposures, aggregate exposures and cumulative risks from multiple stressors.

This document is the first step in presenting concepts that could help in the development of a guidance document and EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) has a long-term goal of developing cumulative risk assessment procedures.

Take Action
NCEA will hold a public meeting in 2006 to receive scientific peer review and comments on this external review draft, Considerations for Developing Alternative Health Risk Assessment Approaches for Addressing Multiple Chemicals, Exposures and Effects. A Federal Register Notice will announce the date of the meeting and its location. EPA will then review any feedback and recommendations with plans to publish the final document by September 2006. Comments may be submitted electronically via http://www.regulations.gov.