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NRC Recommendations Workshop

UPDATE: Registration for the IRIS NRC Recommendations Workshop is now open. EPA invites you to nominate scientific experts in systematic review, evidence integration, or dose-response analysis to participate in workshop discussions. Nominations should be provided no later than September 4, 2014.  The workshop agenda will be posted by mid-September. You may also provide feedback on the discussion questions at any time using our blog post. This will allow the discussion to begin before the workshop convenes.

EPA is planning a public workshop to discuss some specific recommendations from the National Academies' National Research Council's May 2014 report on further improving the scientific quality of IRIS assessments. In their report, the NRC commended EPA for its substantive new approaches, continuing commitment to improving the process, and successes to date. They noted that the program has moved forward steadily in planning for and implementing changes in each element of the assessment process. They also provided several recommendations which they said should be seen as building on the progress that EPA has already made. This workshop will allow EPA to get input from the public and scientific community about specific topics related to the NRC's May 2014 recommendations. These discussions will inform the IRIS Program's work as it develops IRIS assessments and advances the science of risk assessment. The workshop will be open to the public, broadcast by webinar/teleconference, and will take place in Arlington, VA.

Date/Time:

The workshop will take place on October 15-16, 2014.  More detailed information regarding time will be included in the agenda which will be posted in mid-September.

Location:

The workshop will be held in the EPA Conference Center at 2777 South Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22202. The workshop will also be available by webinar/teleconference.

Workshop Overview:

The workshop will include presentations and discussions by scientific experts pertaining to each of the three topics (i.e., systematic review, evidence integration, and dose-response analysis), address several questions under each topic, and include an opportunity for comments and questions from stakeholders and members of the public. EPA invites you to nominate scientific experts in systematic review, evidence integration, or dose-response analysis to participate in workshop discussions.  Please use the nomination form to submit your nomination no later than September 4, 2014. EPA also invites you to provide feedback on the discussion questions under each topic using our blog post

IRIS Workshop on Recommendations from the
National Research Council Review of the IRIS Process

October 15-16, 2014

 

Topic 1. Refining systematic review methodology

The NRC (2014, section 5) has recommended that factors that can lead to bias (i.e., systematic errors that can affect the apparent outcome) be identified and consistently evaluated for individual studies considered in IRIS assessments. They noted that for many of the individual criteria included in available study evaluation tools, the evidence base is modest and the criteria have not been empirically tested.

Questions for workshop discussion:

 

Topic 2. Systematic integration of evidence streams

The NRC (2014, section 6) has recommended that the evidence-integration process consider all lines of evidence (i.e., human, animal, and mechanistic), systematically cover important determinants of strength of evidence (e.g., consistency or exposure-response gradient), use uniform language to describe the strength of evidence (e.g., “sufficient evidence” or “suggestive evidence”), and treat cancer and noncancer outcomes in a more uniform manner.  Section 6 of the NRC Review of the IRIS Process discusses two qualitative approaches for integrating evidence: guided expert judgment and structured processes.

Questions for workshop discussion:

 

Topic 3. Advancing dose-response analysis

Combining multiple studies. The NRC (2014, section 7) has recommended that EPA use formal methods for combining multiple studies to derive toxicity values in a transparent and replicable process. They further recommended that EPA develop both central estimates and bounds (lower bounds for reference values and upper bounds for cancer slope factors).

Questions for workshop discussion:

 

Uncertainty analysis. The NRC (1994; 2009; 2014, section 7) distinguished between scientific uncertainty and population variability and recommended expansion and harmonization of approaches for characterizing uncertainty and variability.

Questions for workshop discussion:

References

National Research Council (NRC). (1994). Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

National Research Council (NRC). (2009). Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

National Research Council (NRC). (2011). Review of the Environmental Protection Agency's Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

National Research Council (NRC). (2014). Review of the EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Process. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

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