About Nancy Beck, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.

Senior Director, Regulatory Science Policy | American Chemistry Council
Author Archive: Nancy Beck, Ph.D., D.A.B.T.

Carcinogen or not a carcinogen? A tale of two WHO Agencies, and the importance of evaluating study quality and human relevance

How is it possible that two World Health Organization (WHO) agencies could evaluate the same chemical’s potential to cause cancer and come to seemingly opposite conclusions? Dr. David Eastmond explored this question in a presentation at the Summer Toxicology Forum meeting comparing the approaches taken by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and […]

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The pursuit of quality in risk assessment

The Toxicology Forum is an international organization that encourages dialogue among government agencies, industry, academia, policymakers, and NGOs concerned with public health issues. Following Congress’s recent passage of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the Toxicology Forum’s summer meeting in Salt Lake City, featured a particularly interesting and timely session on “the pursuit of quality and […]

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What a “defective” radiation-risk standard can teach us about improving chemical risk assessments

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. seems to have a knack for battling bad science – especially what he perceives to be misguided reporting and alarmist stories about climate change. In his most recent piece, Jenkins laments the fact that some activists have used faulty research to overstate the risks associated […]

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Fixing EPA’s chemical assessment program – Latest reviews show IRIS is still a work in progress

It’s hard to believe but this year marks the fifth anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) 2011 report on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program. The report identified systemic problems and offered sweeping recommendations to overhaul the program. So what has happened in the five years since the […]

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Grappling with uncertainty: New paper offers a better approach

As Donald Rumsfeld taught us, how you handle and communicate what you don’t know is just as important as dealing with what you do know. A new paper recently published by the scientific journal Environment International offers several different ways to help better address the uncertainty conundrum when it comes to sharing the results of […]

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Had we been given the opportunity, here’s what we would have offered the NIEHS on its new NTP RoC Handbook

One way in which the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) National Toxicology Program (NTP) could demonstrate its commitment to transparency is by seeking public comment on its guidance documents prior to finalizing and implementing them. Not only would this help NTP to develop a robust approach, but it would also allow outside experts, […]

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IRIS progress report details key improvements, but the bar must be raised higher

According to a May 2015 progress report to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) is better off than it was a year ago, but not as effective as it needs to be to deliver timely, high-quality and credible chemical risk assessments. EPA does deserve credit, first and foremost, for following […]

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Returning to fundamental principles can help science live up to the public trust

A revised approach in the biomedical sciences for reporting research should set a strong precedent for researchers, publishers, and regulators around the U.S. who are committed to improving the science that guides public health decisions. Scientists today are more prolific than ever. The sheer body of research published every year can be overwhelming—from breakthroughs in […]

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Two keys to a stronger chemical assessment program: Planning for success and avoiding pitfalls

This week’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) workshop on the National Research Council’s (NRC) recommendations for improving federal chemical assessments gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) an opportunity to build on the progress it has already made in creating a sound, more transparent, and objective assessment program. While the agenda for the workshop covers […]

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What are the key challenges for improving risk assessments? Two experts weigh in

Two recurring themes at the 53rd meeting of the Society of Toxicology (SOT) in Phoenix, Arizona, were enhancing strategies for risk assessment and finding new ways to conduct safety assessments. Here are three questions (and some potential answers) that continue to drive the debate. What are the biggest issues for the future of risk assessment? […]

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