The guidelines published today are products of a two-year Agency-wide effort, which has included many scientists from the larger scientific community. These guidelines set forth principles and procedures to guide EPA scientists in the conduct of Agency risk assessments, and to inform Agency decision makers and the public about these procedures. In particular, the guidelines emphasize that risk assessments will be conducted on a case-by-case basis, giving full consideration to all relevant scientific information. This case-by-case approach means that Agency experts review the information on each agent and use the most scientifically appropriate interpretation to assess risk. The guidelines also stress that this information will be fully presented in Agency risk assessment documents, and that Agency scientists will identify the strengths and weaknesses of each assessment by describing uncertainties, assumptions, and limitations, as well as the scientific basis and rationale for each assessment.
Finally, the guidelines are formulated in part to bridge gaps in risk assessment methodology and data. By identifying these gaps and the importance of the missing information to the risk assessment process, EPA wishes to encourage research and analysis that will lead to new risk assessment methods and data.