EPA Launches Pesticide Investigation Councils
On Oct. 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) announced that it will be taking new actions to enhance the scientific integrity of the EPA. This includes establishing two internal science policy advisory councils, creating a new senior-level career position to serve as a science policy advisor to the Assistant Administrator, and making further improvements to policies and procedures.
In a follow-up to a March OCSPP-issued office-wide memorandum, the EPA affirmed its commitment to scientific integrity as an essential and critical element in all work done in the office. In the release, Assistant Administrator for the OCSPP Michal Freedhoff stated, “Scientific integrity is the backbone of the work we do to ensure the safety of chemicals used in our everyday lives.”
In order to provide advisory support and recommendations on science policy and issues of scientific integrity, the OCSPP is forming a new internal advisory group: the OCSPP Science Policy Council. The OCSPP Science Policy Council will monitor issues that arise within the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and Office of Pesticide Programs.
The Science Policy Council will also be chaired by a science policy advisor, which is a newly created role within the EPA that will report to the Assistant Administrator to provide guidance on emerging science policy and scientific integrity matters.
The OCSPP Science Policy Council will be authorized to provide specific insight related to topics the EPA deems necessary, including:
- Matters related to scientific integrity
- Identification of scientific questions that are of broad interest within OCSPP for informal review
- Recommendations for a process for further addressing issues arising from review
- Fostering informal opportunities for scientific collaboration within OCSPP
The New Chemicals Division of the EPA has also formed the New Chemicals Advisory Committee (NCAC) that will serve as an advisory source that “reviews both scientific and science policy issues related to new chemical submissions subject to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)”.
Assistant Administrator Freedhoff commented on the advisory group’s formation, saying, “Strong, sound science underpins confidence in our decision-making among the public that we serve. Today’s announcements are the latest in a series of steps OCSPP is taking to reaffirm our commitment to scientific integrity and restore the public trust.”
With these new efforts, the EPA hopes to restore the public’s confidence in their regulation of pesticides and toxic substances used in agriculture.