Major Flaws Identified in EPA Toxics Review Process

On February 16, 2021, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a report concluding that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s systematic review process on chemical safety lacked objectivity and transparency. 

EPA first employed the review process in 2018 when selecting the studies it would use to assess  the impacts of different chemicals on human health under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Since its implementation, the review process has been criticized for prioritizing industry interests over human health concerns. The NASEM report found the process was “lacking objectivity at each step” and recommended the EPA consult “substantial external expertise” in future evaluation approaches under TSCA. The Biden administration’s EPA responded to the NASEM report with a press release stating that the agency “is not using, and will not again use, the systematic review approach that was reviewed by the Academies.” EPA further noted that it is developing a new approach which it plans to finalized by late 2021.