About EPA

About the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA)

What We Do

EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) is a leader in the science of human health and ecological risk assessment, a robust scientific process used to determine how pollutants or other stressors may impact human health and the environment. The Center champions the development and use of health and ecological assessments by interacting with other agencies, the scientific community, industry, policy-makers, and the public. NCEA occupies a critical position in EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) between researchers in other parts of ORD and outside of EPA who are generating new findings and data and the regulators and decision-makers in EPA’s program and regional offices who must make decisions to protect public health and the environment.

The Center’s programs are broad in scope and involve numerous scientific disciplines. NCEA addresses the needs of stakeholders through evaluation, synthesis and analysis of the most up-to-date scientific information. These products serve as a major component of the scientific foundation supporting EPA's regulations, advisories, policies, and enforcement and remedial action decisions. NCEA also conducts cutting-edge research to develop innovative risk assessment methods and tools that help extrapolate between experimental data and real-world scenarios, improve our understanding of uncertainties, and facilitate careful evaluation of scientific evidence.

Immediate Office of the National Center for Environmental Assessment

Director: Michael Slimak (Acting)

Deputy Director: Mary Ross

Name Phone E-mail

Associate Directors

Samantha Jones (Health, Acting) 703-347-8580 jones.samantha@epa.gov
Jeff Frithsen (Ecology) 703-347-8623 frithsen.jeff@epa.gov

Assistant Center Directors

James Avery (Planning and Budget Support) 703-347-8668 avery.james@epa.gov
Ted Berner (Risk Analysis Support) 703-347-8583 berner.ted@epa.gov
Louis D'Amico (Communications and Regulatory Support) 703-347-0344 damico.louis@epa.gov
Emma Lavoie (Scientific Support) 703-347-0328 lavoie.emma@epa.gov

What We Do: NCEA’s Immediate Office (IO) of the Director provides overall direction for NCEA’s research and assessment work. Additionally, the IO supports the Human Health Risk Assessment National Research Program.

  • The Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) Program provides state-of-the-science products in support of risk assessment. These products include independently peer-reviewed human health assessments for existing chemicals and chemical mixtures that find their way into our air, water, and land and advancing analytical methods to incorporate new science and technologies in development of assessment products. The HHRA Program plays a unique role in serving the needs of EPA programs and regions by incorporating, integrating, and coordinating the use of scientific information as a foundation for decision making, enabling the Agency to better predict and reduce risk to public health and the environment. The assessments and other projects developed under HHRA are conducted throughout NCEA.

See the NCEA organization chart for additional IO details.

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Cincinnati Division

Division Director: Annette Gatchett

Deputy Director: Michael Troyer

What We Do: In coordination with EPA’s Superfund Program, NCEA’s Cincinnati Division develops toxicity values for environmental chemicals for use when making site-specific cleanup decisions. Provisional Peer-Reviewed Toxicity Values (PPRTVs) are derived after a review of the relevant scientific literature using the methods, sources of data and guidance for value derivation used by the EPA IRIS Program. PPRTVs differ in part from IRIS values in that they focus on smaller chemical databases with less peer-reviewed literature. PPRTV assessments are developed when corresponding IRIS toxicity values are not available. This toxicological information is used to support decisions to protect human health for stakeholders in the vicinity of Superfund sites across the US.

NCEA’s Cincinnati Division also contributes to the development and application of methods to assess human health and ecological risks associated with environmental pollutants. Major areas of research (like the development of methods and guidance, and their application to case study assessments) include:

  • mixtures risk assessment,
  • developing computational methods for application in health assessment,
  • conductivity and impacts on water quality, and
  • causal relationships in ecological risk assessment.

In addition, NCEA-Cincinnati performs assessments of the toxicity of individual chemicals for the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program and community-based assessments. NCEA-Cincinnati also maintains two Superfund technical support centers for human health and ecology to provide assistance to regional risk assessors and other program offices.

See the NCEA organization chart for additional NCEA-Cincinnati division details.

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Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Division

Division Director: Vincent Cogliano

Deputy Director: Gina Perovich

What We Do: NCEA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Division focuses on the development of high quality, evidence-based, peer-reviewed, health hazard and dose-response assessments for environmental pollutants that provide the scientific foundation for decision-making to protect public health under an array of environmental laws (e.g., Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act).

IRIS assessments review the epidemiologic and experimental studies on chemicals to which the public might be exposed. The assessments identify adverse health outcomes associated with exposure to a chemical and characterize the exposure-response relationships. IRIS assessments are interdisciplinary and scientifically complex, and widely used by EPA’s programs and regions, as well as by states, international organizations, and the public, to support decision-making and regulatory activities. Today, several hundred IRIS assessments are available to the public online via the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). EPA and the risk assessment/risk management community consider IRIS the premier source of hazard and dose-response information for environmental pollutants.

See the NCEA organization chart for additional NCEA-IRIS division details.

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Research Triangle Park (RTP) Division

Division Director: John Vandenberg

Deputy Director: Debra Walsh

What We Do: NCEA's Research Triangle Park (NCEA-RTP) Division develops the Integrated Science Assessments (ISA) to provide the scientific foundation for the six criteria air pollutants (particulate matter, ozone, lead, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and carbon monoxide) in support of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) decision-making under the Clean Air Act. In addition, NCEA-RTP performs assessments on the toxicity of individual chemicals and for the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program and provides key scientific assessments and assistance to many EPA programs with regard to lead and other metals. The scientific literature for these and other assessments developed in NCEA are captured and stored in the Health and Environmental Research Online (HERO) database. HERO supports the assessment development process for all of NCEA as well as other partners.

The NCEA-RTP Division also:

  • develops scientific assessments of air toxics in support of decision-making on hazardous air pollutants;
  • develops and maintains software tools for risk assessment dose-response models (e.g., BMDS, CatReg)
  • provides leadership in support of the Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) Program
  • provides risk assessment information and assistance on air pollution problems to EPA Programs and Offices, Regions, other federal government agencies, state and local authorities, and international agencies;
  • develops and maintains HERO a robust system designed to systematically identify, compile, organize, manage, characterize, and prioritize new relevant studies. HERO provides transparency and accessibility to the scientific literature as well as valuable online tools used in the science assessment development process.

See the NCEA organization chart for additional NCEA-RTP division details.

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Washington Division

Division Director: David Bussard

Deputy Director: Scot Hagerthey

What We Do: NCEA's Washington (NCEA-Wash) Division focuses primarily on the development and implementation of new methods into site- and chemical-specific assessments (in support of programs like the Integrated Risk Information System and the Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System); improving the accuracy of risk characterizations for human health and ecological assessments; integrating quantitative information about human variability and uncertainty into risk assessments; developing advanced pharmacokinetic and mechanistic models; uncovering the molecular mechanisms that lead from exposure to adverse health consequences; improving extrapolations between exposure routes and between species; and providing the guidance, tools, and training to enable other risk assessors to conduct scientifically sound assessments.

This division has produced the following materials/websites:

The Washington division also maintains the Report on the Environment (ROE). The ROE group manages and maintains this state-of-the-art interactive resource that shows how the condition of the environment and human health in the United States is changing over time. Targeted for anyone interested in environmental trends, the ROE presents the best available indicators of national trends in five theme areas of interest to EPA: Air, Water, Land, Human Exposure and Health, and Ecological Condition.

Also the Washington division provides environmental and human health exposure assessments and expertise for both man-made and natural disasters that may affect the United States in cooperation with other Government Agencies.

See the NCEA organization chart for additional NCEA-Wash division details.

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