By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
Research in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD) is organized around six highly integrated and transdisciplinary national research programs that are closely aligned with EPA’s strategic goals and cross-EPA strategies. Each program is guided by a Strategic Research Action Plan (StRAP) developed by EPA with input from its many internal and external partners and stakeholders. In October 2022, EPA published six StRAPs for fiscal years (FY) 2023-2026. EPA states that the StRAP for Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS) “is focused on addressing the pressing environmental and health challenge of a lack of sufficient information on chemicals needed to make informed, risk-based decisions.” The StRAP for CSS states that CSS will continue to:
- Develop the science needed to reduce, refine, and replace vertebrate animal testing consistent with EPA policies;
- Accelerate the pace of chemical assessment to enable our partners to make informed and timely decisions concerning the potential impacts of environmental chemicals on human health and the environment; and
- Provide leadership to transform chemical testing, screening, prioritization, and risk assessment practices.
Topic 1, Chemical Evaluation, includes three research areas, including emerging materials and technologies. The StRAP states that emerging materials and technologies often have unique physicochemical properties, warranting specialized approaches for evaluating hazard and exposure, and necessitating an evaluation of the environmental impacts of their use. In addition, investigation of novel products of synthetic biology, genome editing, and metabolic engineering is needed to support risk assessment of emerging biotechnology products. The emerging materials and technologies research area will develop, collate, mine, and apply information on emerging materials and technologies to support risk-based decisions, including potential impacts of disproportionately affected populations. It will address the additional data needed to characterize potential release of and exposure to these chemicals and materials, and subsequent environmental impacts of emerging materials on humans and ecological species. The research area will also address relevant cross-cutting priorities related to cumulative impacts and environmental justice potentially associated with incidental exposures.
By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On August 25, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that registration was open for the 2022 Conference on the State of the Science on Development and Use of New Approach Methods (NAM) for Chemical Safety Testing. EPA notes that there will be limited availability in person at EPA headquarters in Washington, DC, on October 12-13, 2022, and a virtual option will also be available. Conference topics include:
- Variability and Relevance of Traditional Toxicity Tests;
- Evolution of Validation and Scientific Confidence Frameworks to Incorporate 21st Century Science; and
- Breakout groups discussing Variability of Traditional Toxicity Tests, Relevance of Traditional Toxicity Tests, and Feedback on EPA Scientific Confidence Framework.
EPA asks that attendees register for the NAMs conference before October 7, 2022.
On October 18, 2022, EPA will provide training on the Computational Toxicology (CompTox) Chemicals Dashboard, which is part of a suite of databases and web applications developed by EPA to support the development of innovative methods to evaluate chemicals for potential health risks. The computational toxicology tools and data in the Dashboard help prioritize chemicals based on potential health risks. Specifically targeted for decision-makers, the training will provide:
- An overview of the Dashboard content and function;
- Application-oriented use-case demonstrations in the areas of general use, hazard/bioactivity, exposure/absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME)-in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE), and chemistry; and
- Opportunities for participatory learning and engagement.
The training will offer information about the latest release of the Dashboard and how it can be used to gather actionable information about chemical properties and risks through case examples, demonstrations, and hands-on exercises. Registration is now open (attendees must register for the training portions individually):
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is pleased to present “TSCA New Approach Methodologies,” a complimentary webinar featuring Lynn L. Bergeson, Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., James W. Cox, M.S., and Kristie Sullivan, MPH. The 2016 amendments to TSCA require EPA “to reduce and replace” vertebrate animals to the extent practicable, scientifically justified, and consistent with TSCA policies. EPA is also required to “develop a strategic plan to promote the development and implementation of alternative test methods and strategies to reduce, refine, or replace vertebrate animal testing and provide information of equivalent or better scientific quality and relevance for assessing risks of injury to health or the environment of chemical substances or mixtures.”
These are tall orders, and EPA has worked hard to fulfill Congress’s expectations. This webinar will:
- Highlight examples of EPA’s use of non-vertebrate testing strategies, commonly referred to as “new approach methodologies” or NAMs, in its evaluation of new and existing chemical substances under TSCA Sections 5 and 6, respectively;
- Provide examples of successful collaborations between EPA and external partners to advance the understanding and use of NAMs for informing regulatory scientific questions;
- Provide perspectives from former EPA scientists and non-governmental organization scientists on the types of data needs required to advance the acceptance and use of NAMs over existing vertebrate alternatives; and
- Provide a proposed roadmap for engaging EPA scientists on the types of questions EPA scientists will likely ask when considering proposals for utilizing NAMs as part of regulatory filings.