History of the AEGL Program
In 1986, the National Advisory Committee for the Development of Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Hazardous Substances (AEGL/NAC Committee or AEGL Committee) was formed to develop and recommend AEGLs for hazardous chemicals for use in chemical emergency programs. These levels can be used by federal, state and local agencies, the private sector and foreign organizations for emergency planning, prevention and response activities related to the accidental release of hazardous substances.
EPA has been actively involved since 1988 in a program leading to the development of short-term exposure guidelines for accidental air-borne chemical releases. In April, 1988, EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) organized and held a National Workshop to determine the status of short-term exposure guideline level development. Based on the findings of the workshop, the idea to establish a combined effort for the future development of short-term guideline levels was conceived and a program was implemented.
In September, 1989, OPPT and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) provided funding for a cooperative agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to develop a methodology that could be used to develop short-term exposure guideline levels. The NAS commenced work on this task in October, 1990. From October, 1990 until February, 1993, OPPT staff continually met with the NAS Committee on Toxicology to articulate specific uses of, and requirements for, short-term exposure guideline levels. In June, 1993, the NAS published its report, entitled Guidelines for Developing Community Emergency Exposure Levels for Hazardous Substances.
With the methodology now available, OPPT initiated the next series of steps to develop the concept of a working committee and solicit support and participation from federal and state agencies and organizations in the private sector to establish a joint committee to develop the exposure guideline levels. The AEGL Committee was formed and first met in June, 1996. For 15 years, the AEGL committee discussed over 300 chemicals and developed AEGL values for at least 273 of the 329 chemicals on the AEGL priority chemical lists. The last meeting of the AEGL committee was in April 2010 and the charter of the FACA committee expired in October 2011. Although the work of the AEGL committee has ended, the AEGL program is still operational and works with the National Academies to publish final AEGLs.
During its operation, the AEGL/NAC committee was fortunate to have dedicated members that contributed to set the standard for a new and fruitful way to develop a single high quality scientific product required by many federal and state agencies as well as private sector groups.
Some of the key accomplishments of the AEGL committee are the following:
greater resources for more comprehensive data gathering and the utilization of a broader base of scientific knowledge and expertise.