Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) for Sulfur Oxides – Health Criteria (External Review Draft, Nov 2015)

EPA announced the availability of the external review draft of the Integrated Science Assessment for Sulfur Oxides– Health Criteria for public comment and independent peer review in a November 24, 2015 Federal Register Notice. This draft document provides EPA’s evaluation and synthesis of the most policy-relevant science related to the health effects of sulfur oxides. When final, it will provide a critical part of the scientific foundation for EPA’s decision regarding the adequacy of the current primary (health-based) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur oxides are one of six principal (or criteria) pollutants for which EPA has established national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). For sulfur oxides, the NAAQS are specified in terms of sulfur dioxide (SO2). The Clean Air Act requires EPA to periodically review the scientific basis for these standards by preparing an Integrated Science Assessment. These reviews play a significant role in EPA’s commitment to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for the public.

The draft ISA is part of the Agency’s periodic review of the primary (health-based) NAAQS for SO2. Overall, findings from recent studies strengthen the conclusions from the previous NAAQS review, which was completed in 2010. Results from recent studies strengthen the body of evidence indicating that short-term exposure to SO2 can cause respiratory effects, in particular, effects related to asthma exacerbation. There is more uncertainty regarding the potential for SO2 effects outside the respiratory system.

Status

EPA granted a 30-day extension for the public to provide comments on this draft assessment in a December 24, 2015 Federal Register Notice. In addition EPA announced a public meeting, in a December 21, 2015 Federal Register Notice, to discuss the review of this report. This meeting, hosted by the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), was scheduled for January 27-28, 2016. Following the peer review an updated draft will be produced and released for public review and comment. Once finalized, the assessment will be posted on EPA’s website, and will provide a critical part of the scientific foundation for the primary NAAQS for sulfur dioxide.

Citation

U.S. EPA. Integrated Science Assessment (ISA) for Sulfur Oxides – Health Criteria (External Review Draft, Nov 2015). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-15/066, 2015.

History/Chronology

Sep 2008EPA released the Final Report of the Integrated Science Assessment for Sulfur Oxides (SOx) - Health Criteria (EPA/600/R-08/047F). [Federal Register Notice Sep 12, 2008]
May 2013EPA initiated the current review of the air quality criteria for SOX and the primary SO2 NAAQS, and also issued a call for information. [Federal Register Notice May 10, 2013]
Jun 2013EPA held a workshop entitled "Workshop to Discuss Policy-Relevant Science to Inform EPA’s Integrated Plan for Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Oxides" co-organized by EPA/ORD/NCEA and the EPA/OAQPS Staff to help with the development of future products on this subject matter. The workshop was held June 12-13, 2013, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. [Federal Register Notice May 10, 2013]
Mar 2014EPA released the Integrated Review Plan for the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide – External Review Draft. [Federal Register Notice Mar 12, 2014]
Apr-Jul 2014CASAC held multiple public teleconferences to discuss the draft Integrated Review Plan. [Federal Register Notice Mar 25, 2014, Federal Register Notice May 27, 2014, Federal Register Notice Jun 18, 2014]
Jun 2014EPA held a public workshop to review initial draft materials to inform the development of the draft Integrated Science Assessment for Sulfur Oxides – Health Criteria.[Federal Register Notice Jun 12, 2014]
Oct 2014EPA released the final ‘Integrated Review Plan for the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide’ (EPA-452/R-14-007). [Federal Register Notice Nov 10, 2014]
Nov 2015EPA released the external review draft for public and independent peer review. [Federal register Notice Nov 24, 2015]
Dec 2015EPA announced a SAB advisory meeting to discuss the draft report in a December 21, 2015 Federal Register Notice. On December 24, 2015, EPA extended the public comment period adding an additional 30-days. The comment period is now February 24, 2016. [Federal Register Notice Dec 24, 2015]

This download(s) is distributed solely for the purpose of pre-dissemination peer review under applicable information quality guidelines. It has not been formally disseminated by EPA. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent any Agency determination or policy.


Docket

Comments on the assessment may be submitted and reviewed using the Docket ID EPA-HQ-ORD-2013-0357