Draft Dioxin Report Available for Peer Review, Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its draft scientific report, EPA’s Reanalysis of Key Issues Related to Dioxin Toxicity and Response to NAS Comments.

The draft is EPA’s response to key comments and recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the agency’s draft dioxin reassessment. EPA is moving forward with Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s commitment to complete the long-awaited dioxin reassessment. The report will now undergo scientific peer review by independent, external experts as well as public review and comment.

Previously, the agency asked NAS, the science advisers to the nation, to review EPA’s 2003 draft dioxin reassessment. The NAS completed its review in 2006. EPA’s draft report responds to those comments and also includes significant new analyses that relate to issues raised by the NAS, including potential cancer and non-cancer human health effects that may result from exposures to dioxins. Thus, this draft dioxin report includes an oral reference dose (RfD) for TCDD ─ the most well-studied and considered to be among the most toxic of the dioxin-like compounds. An RfD was not in the 2003 draft dioxin reassessment.

The draft scientific report will undergo external peer review by an expert panel of scientists convened by EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) in July 2010. Public comments on this draft report are encouraged. To submit comments, visit www.regulations.gov and select "Environmental Protection Agency" and the keyword "EPA-HQ-ORD-2010-0395" (for the docket ID). EPA will use the feedback and recommendations of the expert panel, as well as the public comments, to update and complete its draft dioxin reassessment.

Dioxin is a general term that describes a group of hundreds of chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment. Dioxins are formed during combustion or burning. Sources of dioxins include commercial or municipal waste incineration; the burning of fuels like wood, coal, or oil; and natural processes such as forest fires.

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