WASHINGTON (April 14, 2022) — Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment on formaldehyde for public comment. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) strongly objects to this decision, as it follows several unheeded calls by industry and lawmakers to address clear process deficiencies and potential issues of bias that undermine public confidence in the assessment.
Year after year, ACC has met with IRIS staff to provide briefings on new scientific findings and to urge for transparency and scientific reliability in the process. Just last week, ACC released an analysis of public documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that revealed a troubling pattern of process irregularities, potential issues of bias and conflicts of interest. ACC called on EPA to take immediate steps to address these concerns and are disappointed that, despite repeated calls for change, EPA is instead choosing to move forward with releasing its assessment.
With ACC’s concerns unaddressed, ACC is even more troubled by the possibility that EPA’s draft formaldehyde IRIS assessment could be used as a risk communication tool, to guide regulations or to set policy at any level of government.
For decades, industry has invested tens of millions of dollars in research and development on the safety of products that use formaldehyde. ACC is dedicated to contributing to the public discourse on formaldehyde and is committed to any assessment used to guide regulation considers the full weight of scientific evidence. We are carefully reviewing the full assessment and plan to submit public comment by June 13.
“In August 2021, we urged EPA to ensure the draft formaldehyde IRIS assessment relies on the best available data in an objective, transparent way. Last month, we again stressed the importance of independent, sound science. And, just last week, we called on EPA to address process irregularities and transparency concerns,” said Dr. Kimberly Wise White, Vice President of Regulatory & Scientific Affairs, ACC. “We are disappointed that, despite our repeated requests for EPA to address these concerns prior to releasing its draft, the agency has decided to move forward without taking the steps necessary to ensure the assessment is scientifically-sound and worthy of public confidence.”
American Chemistry Council, 14-04-22