U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment
EPA has released a final report entitled, A Framework for Assessing Health Risk of Environmental Exposures to Children, which examines the impact of potential exposures during developmental lifestages and subsequent lifestages, while emphasizing the iterative nature of the analysis phase with a multidisciplinary team.
Major findings and conclusions: This report outlines the framework in which mode of action(s) (MOA) can be considered across life stages. The framework is based upon existing approaches adopted in the Framework on Cumulative Risk Assessment and identifies existing guidance, guidelines and policy papers that relate to children's health risk assessment. It emphasizes the importance of an iterative approach between hazard, dose response, and exposure analyses. In addition, it includes discussion of principles for weight of evidence consideration across life stages for the hazard characterization database.
Key science/assessment issues:This framework addresses the questions of why and how an improved children's health risk assessment will strengthen the overall risk assessment process across the Agency. This approach improves the scientific explanation of children's risk and will add value by: 1) providing for a more complete evaluation of the potential for vulnerability at different life stages, including a focus on the underlying biological events and critical developmental periods for incorporating MOA considerations; 2) evaluating of the potential for toxicity after exposure during all developmental life stages; and 3) integrating of adverse health effects and exposure information across life stages.