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The EPA’s Program: Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS)

Posted on March 26, 2014
by Susana Escamilla

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(Image Source:epa.gov)

    We are fortunate to have access to vital information from the The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that educates individuals and groups of health hazards that can be in their environments and how individuals can prevent from being exposed to environmental contaminants and gain information on chemicals that can be found in their home or workplace. The EPA has an assessment program called, “Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) that evaluates information on health effects that is a result from being exposed to different types of contaminants. The data base is classified into two sections. The categories are sectioned by descriptive and quantitative information and are as followed:

  • Non-cancer effects: Oral reference doses and inhalation reference concentrations (RfDs and RfCs, respectively) for effects known or assumed to be produced through a nonlinear (possibly threshold) mode of action. In most instances, RfDs and RfCs are developed for the noncarcinogenic effects of substances.
  • Cancer effects: Descriptors that characterize the weight of evidence for human carcinogenicity, oral slope factors, and oral and inhalation unit risks for carcinogenic effects. Where a nonlinear mode of action is established, RfD and RfC values may be used.

The IRIS database contains information on more than 550 chemical substances.The assessment also includes information about health hazards as well as toxicity values that can be used in human health risk assessment. The public is able to contact the IRIS Hotline, and can provide information on chemicals that are found in the IRIS database. The Indoor Air Quality Association recently shared a video on this subject and shares valuable information on IRIS.

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