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Scientists Call for EPA to Reconvene Expert Panel

Agency Needs Informed Decisions on Particulate Matter Pollution

Scientists, including Marron Professor Kevin Cromar, recently called on the EPA to reconvene an expert panel on particulate matter pollution as part of the agency's process for evaluating its regulatory pollution standard.

The chairwoman of the US Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has demanded that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reconvene its disbanded panel of experts on particulate matter (PM) air pollution and human health. In a letter on May 15, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson told EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler that it would be “inappropriate” for the agency to proceed with its assessment of the US Government’s PM standard without reconvening its PM Review Panel. Under the US Clean Air Act, the EPA must regularly review scientific research to produce Integrated Science Assessments (ISAs) for six criteria air pollutants: PM, ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. 

EPA staff scientists write draft ISAs, which are then reviewed by members of the seven-member Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) with the assistance of expert review panels. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt terminated the appointments of CASAC members who had EPA grants, citing the research funding as a conflict of interest; members with industry funding were exempt. CASAC terms were halved from 6 years to 3 years and Pruitt appointed consultant risk analyst Tony Cox, a vocal critic of the EPA’s approach to risk assessment and air pollution regulation, to serve as chair of the CASAC in 2017.

Read More in The Lancet

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