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On May 4-5, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Executive Committee will meet to review the Office of Research and Development’s (ORD) six Strategic Research Action Plans (StRAP) for fiscal years (FY) 2023-2026. The meetings are open to the public. 87 Fed. Reg. 23861. BOSC will consider comments on the draft StRAPs that are submitted by May 3, 2022. Requests for the draft agenda or making a presentation at the meeting will be accepted until May 3, 2022. The meeting is open to the public. Registration is required.

The draft StRAPs outline the leading-edge research strategies necessary to provide the scientific foundation for EPA to execute its mandate to protect human health and the environment. ORD organized the StRAPs around each of its six National Research Programs and developed them through a series of listening sessions, workshops, and consultations with EPA partners; state, tribal, and local partners; and community groups. EPA plans to release the final StRAPs later this year. The draft StRAPs for ORD’s six National Research Programs include:

According to the draft CSS StRAP, “[a] key issue with current chemical safety assessment is that traditional approaches have been unable to keep pace with innovations in chemical design, synthesis, and use.” The draft StRAP states that CSS will continue to:

  • Develop the science needed to reduce, refine, and replace vertebrate animal testing consistent with EPA policies;
  • Accelerate the pace of chemical assessment to enable its partners to make informed and timely decisions concerning the potential impacts of environmental chemicals on human health and the environment; and
  • Provide leadership to transform chemical testing, screening, prioritization, and risk assessment practices.

While continuing its core research activities, ORD envisions that CSS will further incorporate cross-cutting research priorities. To be effective over the course of the StRAP, CSS will not only develop robust scientific data and innovative tools, but also interpretative frameworks.

According to the draft HERA StRAP, HERA “develops a portfolio of fit-for-purpose human health or environmental assessment products and assessment-related research to meet EPA’s wide-ranging statutory and regulatory needs.” HERA identifies, evaluates, and integrates existing and emerging information from diverse scientific disciplines to characterize human or environmental hazards. The draft StRAP states that HERA advances the science and practice of assessment through methods development, case studies, models, and tools that are tethered to assessment needs.

HERA “will continue as a leader in innovating and applying systematic review methods, including evidence integration and mapping.” According to the draft StRAP, areas of new or increasing emphasis will incorporate research relevant to children’s environmental health, equity and environmental justice, climate change, and cumulative risk. The draft StRAP states that HERA’s strategic direction “culminates in a program structured to facilitate efficient construction and production of high-quality, transparent, state-of-the-science assessment research that maximizes resources to address priority statutory, regulatory, and programmatic needs.”



By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On February 4, 2021, the ad hoc committee appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) to consider current evidence regarding human health effects of the most widely studied per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) will hold its first meeting.  The National Academies will provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) “an objective and authoritative review of current evidence regarding human health effects of those PFAS being monitored in the CDC’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.”  The National Academies will also provide recommendations regarding potential changes to CDC and ATSDR PFAS clinical guidance, including:

  • Options and considerations to guide decision-making for PFAS testing in a patient’s blood or urine;
  • PFAS concentrations that could inform clinical care of exposed patients; and
  • Appropriate patient follow-up and care specific to PFAS-associated health endpoints for those patients known or suspected to be exposed to PFAS.

The committee will host multiple town hall events in the spring and summer 2021 to hear from PFAS-impacted communities.  The National Academies intends to release the final report in 2022.


By Christopher R. Bryant

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on June 6, 2018, announced two public meetings related to the harmonization of transportation and hazard communication standards with international standards.  83 Fed. Reg. 26338.  The first meeting -- led by PHMSA -- will solicit public input on current proposals and items for inclusion in the agenda of the 53rd session of the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UNSCOE TDG). The second meeting will be spearheaded by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and will focus on preparation for the 35th session of the United Nations (UN) Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS).  Both meetings will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at DOT Headquarters, West Building, Oklahoma City Conference Room, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.  The PHMSA meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EDT) and the OSHA meeting is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT). Registration for the meetings is available online.  DOT and OSHA will also provide conference call-in and Skype meeting capabilities. 

The primary purpose of PHMSA’s meeting is to prepare for the 53rd session of the UNSCOE TDG.  UNSCOE will consider proposals for the 21st Revised Edition of the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (Model Regulations), which may be implemented into relevant domestic, regional, and international regulations from January 1, 2021.  Topics on the agenda for the UNSCOE TDG meeting include:

  • Explosives and related matters;
  • Listing, classification, and packing;
  • Electric storage systems;
  • Transport of gases;
  • Global harmonization of regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods with the Model Regulations;
  • Guiding principles for the Model Regulations;
  • Cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency;
  • New proposals for amendments to the Model Regulations;
  • Issues relating to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS); and
  • Miscellaneous issues.

OSHA’s meeting will focus on preparation for the 35th session of the UNSCEGHS.  It will provide interested groups and individuals with an update on GHS-related issues, as well as solicit input on the development of U.S. positions on proposals submitted to the UNSCEGHS.