Consensus Report

Progress Toward Transforming the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program: A 2018 Evaluation (2018)

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This study concludes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program, which is used to assess the hazards posed by environmental contaminants, has made "substantial progress" in implementing recommendations outlined in past reports by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

In a 2014 report, the National Academies concluded the program had improved significantly since 2011 and offered specific recommendations for improving the scientific and technical performance of the IRIS program. IRIS has made substantial progress in responding to those recommendations by incorporating systematic-review methods into its process and assessments. IRIS has also established a systematic-review working group and engaged subject-matter experts, which should increase efficiency and consistency among assessments and improve their scientific rigor.

The IRIS program should continue to evolve. This study recommends some refinements and further developments in different stages of its systematic-review process and risk quantification process, and it urges EPA to give high priority to completion, peer review, and release of its IRIS handbook, which is expected to provide critical guidance for the development of IRIS assessments.