The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made some changes to its Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program that should improve the foundation for assessments, provide more transparency, and allow EPA to produce more IRIS assessments annually. IRIS provides high quality, science-based health assessments to indicate the health effects that may result from exposure to environmental contaminants.

EPA will now release preliminary materials and hold public meetings as part of the early assessment process to help provide more transparency to the public. These meetings will explain how specific criteria was used in the assessment and help ensure that critical research was not left out. A new document structure for IRIS assessments will also be used which will make the information more accessible. The IRIS website will provide more details regarding assessment schedules, stakeholder meetings and any other updates on IRIS progress. EPA will also begin implementation of a cut-off point for accepting new data for individual assessments and raising issues related to the assessment.

EPA has also announced its IRIS meeting schedule through the end of 2014. The next meeting will be held on October 23-24, 2013 and will take place at the EPA Conference Center in Arlington, Virginia. The three chemicals that will be up for discussion at the meeting are ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), tert-butanol (t-butanol) and hexahydro- 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX).