Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C. law firm providing chemical and chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in matters relating to TSCA, and other global chemical management programs.

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) announced on July 21, 2022, publication of a new report entitled The Importance of Chemical Research to the U.S. Economy. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the American Chemical Society (ACS) asked NASEM to convene a committee to consider strategies to sustain and enhance the economic activity driven by fundamental research investments in the chemical sciences. According to NASEM, “a new and evolving chemistry landscape requires changes with regard to funding, training, and a focus on integrating sustainability into manufacturing, product usage, and product disposal.” NASEM states that the report identifies strategies and options for research investments intended to support U.S. leadership “while considering environmental sustainability and developing a diverse chemical economy workforce with equitable opportunities for all chemistry talent.” The report recommends that funding agencies and philanthropic organizations that support the chemical sciences “fund as large a breadth of fundamental research projects as possible.” The chemical industry and their partners at universities, scientific research institutions, and national laboratories “should align the objectives of fundamental research” to assist directly with new practices toward environmental stewardship, sustainability, and clean energy. Additionally, the report recommends that funding agencies “make substantial investment toward education research to enable innovative ways of teaching about emerging concepts, tools and technologies.”

Tags: DOE, NSF, NIST, ACS, NASEM, Research,

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on November 30, 2021, the release of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) external peer review report of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) Staff Handbook for Developing Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Assessments (IRIS Handbook). EPA states that the IRIS Handbook provides standard operating procedures for staffers developing IRIS assessments and includes systematic review approaches that promote consistency and ensure that contributors understand how the assessment components are developed.
 
The NASEM committee found that the IRIS Handbook “reflects the significant improvements that EPA has made in its IRIS assessment process.” For instance, according to the report, the IRIS Handbook describes the inclusion of “sophisticated, state-of-the-art methods that use systematic evidence maps to summarize literature characteristics for scoping and systematic review methods for hazard identification.” The committee acknowledges that the IRIS program is “clearly helping” to advance the science of systematic review as applied to hazard identification. The report states that the committee “recognizes that EPA faces challenges in implementing many of the methods for the IRIS assessment process and is impressed and encouraged by the progress that the IRIS program has made to date.” The committee suggests that the methods for developing IRIS assessments can serve as a model for other EPA programs implementing systematic review methods.
 
The committee found that the Handbook does not consistently convey the strengths and advances in methodology for the IRIS assessment process in an even and clear manner, however. The report includes the committee’s recommendations to ensure the IRIS Handbook meets its objectives of providing transparency about the IRIS assessment process and providing operational instructions for those conducting the assessments.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) are now assembling an ad hoc committee to identify emerging scientific and technological advances from across a broad range of disciplines that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) should consider in its research planning to support EPA’s mission for protecting human health and the environment.  In addition, according to NASEM, the committee will recommend how ORD could best take advantage of those advances to meet current and future challenges during the next 10 - 20 years.  NASEM states that the committee will consider EPA’s mission, strategic planning documents, and current initiatives, as well as other broader topics, including, but not limited to, biotechnology, big data, climate impacts, environmental monitoring and sensors, impacts of stressors on ecological and human health, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.  The committee also will consider advances that help EPA better incorporate systems thinking into multimedia, multidisciplinary approaches.

The study will be carried out by a committee of approximately 16 volunteer experts from a wide range of disciplines that can be applied to current and emerging environmental challenges facing society, including:

  • Physical, chemical, biological, environmental, and social sciences;
  • Exposure science;
  • Public health;
  • Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;
  • Engineering;
  • Informatics/information technology;
  • Risk assessment;
  • Risk management;
  • Environmental policy decision-making;
  • Communication and application of scientific information in environmental decision-making; and
  • Emerging science and technology.

Nominations for committee members and reviewers are due August 5, 2020.

Tags: NASEM, ORD