No Industrial Restriction In Secret (IRIS) Act Introduced

Feb. 2, 2024
The No IRIS Act would prohibit the federal government from using the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) to inform its rulemakings unless Congress explicitly authorizes the program.

On Feb. 1, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) introduced the No Industrial Restrictions In Secret Act (No IRIS Act). The act aims to restrict the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from relying on assessments generated by the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program. 

According to the EPA’s website, the IRIS Program was created in 1985 to provide an internal database of human health assessments for chemicals found in the environment. The goal of the IRIS Program is to foster consistency in the evaluation of chemical toxicity across the agency.

IRIS was made available to the public in 1988, first via an email system and later via the National Library of Medicine's TOXNET system and the National Technical Information Service. In 2015, the first IRIS public science meeting was held in which independent, subject-matter experts identified by the National Academies of Sciences and National Research Council joined the public discussion on key science questions and preliminary assessment materials.

Kennedy said in a press release, "The Biden White House is using the EPA’s IRIS to create more red tape for America’s chemical manufacturers, and it is crushing the industry. The No IRIS Act would ensure that unelected bureaucrats do not abuse the IRIS to implement rules that kill Louisiana jobs and hurt our economy without congressional approval.” 

Shortly after the introduction of the No IRIS Act, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) showed its support.  

“Computer chips, modern healthcare, housing, infrastructure, agriculture, and energy are all made possible by America’s chemical industry,” said Chris Jahn, president and CEO of the ACC, in a press release.  “Unfortunately, the IRIS program puts many critical chemistries in jeopardy. The IRIS program has a troubling history of being out of step with the best available science and methods, lacking transparency, and being unresponsive to peer review and stakeholder recommendations. As a result, the IRIS program – which has never been authorized by Congress – produces assessments that defy common sense. We thank Senator Kennedy and Congressman Grothman for their work to promote sound science and protect America’s ability to compete and innovate.”

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