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Environmental Assessment

IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol (Interagency Science Consultation Draft)

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On January 12, 2010, the Toxicological Review of Methanol and the charge to external peer reviewers were released for external peer review and public comment. The Toxicological Review and charge were reviewed internally by EPA and by other federal agencies and White House Offices before public release. In the new IRIS process, introduced by the EPA Administrator, all written comments on IRIS assessments submitted by other federal agencies and White House Offices will be made publicly available. Accordingly, interagency comments and the interagency science consultation draft of the IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol and the charge to external peer reviewers are posted on this site.

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Karen A. Hammerstrom
  • by phone at:   703-347-8642
  • by email at:  hammerstrom.karen@epa.gov

Background

Methanol is a high production volume chemical with many commercial uses. It is a basic building block for numerous chemicals. Many of its derivatives are used in the construction, housing or automotive industries. Consumer products that contain methanol include varnishes, shellacs, paints, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, adhesives, deicers, and Sterno heaters. This draft IRIS health assessment addresses both non-cancer and cancer human health effects that may result from chronic exposure to this chemical. This draft assessment provides an inhalation reference concentration (RfC) for chronic non-cancer health effects, a cancer assessment, and a reassessment of the oral reference dose (RfD). This is the first RfC and cancer assessment for methanol.

History/Chronology

Sep 1988EPA posted the assessment of an oral reference dose for methanol on the IRIS Database.
Jul 1993EPA revised the oral reference dose for methanol.
May 2002EPA started draft development of an IRIS reassessment of methanol.
Jun 2009An external peer review of unpublished New Energy Development Organization (NEDO) studies (for a 24-month rat study and an 18-month mouse study) was completed.
Dec 2009EPA hosted an interagency science consultation on the draft IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol for cancer and non-cancer health effects.
Jan 2010EPA released the IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol (External Review Draft) on cancer and non-cancer health effects for public review and comment, and announced the public listening session would be held on February 23, 2010. [Federal Register Jan 12, 2010]
Jun 2010Following a report from the National Toxicology Program, EPA placed on hold the draft Methanol Toxicological Review on cancer and non-cancer health effects (see June 15, 2010 press release).
Apr 2011EPA released the IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol (Non-Cancer) (External Review Draft) for public review and comment. EPA also announced a public listening session to be held on May 26, 2011 in Arlington, VA. [Federal Register Apr 18, 2011]

Next Steps

Following external peer review the assessment will be revised taking into consideration external peer review and public comments, will undergo a final EPA internal review and a review by a science discussion with other federal agencies and White House offices, then will be posted to the IRIS Web site.

Citation

U.S. EPA. IRIS Toxicological Review of Methanol (Interagency Science Consultation Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 2009.

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