Date of this Version
Published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 18 (2004) 193–199. DOI:10.1016/j.etap.2003.12.005
Project-level research strategies at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding chemical mixtures are impacted by administrative priorities, public interests, expert opinions, scientific advances, regulatory needs, and legislative actions, influencing the setting of priorities and goals. Perhaps, the most significant influence on conducting chemical mixtures research is the passage of laws requiring the EPA to investigate the potential toxicity of various mixtures, specifically the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, and the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996. Scarce resources are allocated to broadly defined issues for consideration by teams of scientists, who design and implement specific projects. Because resources are limited, projects may have several goals, e.g., filling specific data gaps to support a regulation and, simultaneously, producing data to evaluate a risk assessment method. Research areas of emphasis are shaped by risk assessment needs, data gap uncertainties, and experimental design considerations. This paper discusses factors shaping EPA research strategies for chemical mixtures and presents an example of efficient research planning to investigate potential toxicity from exposure to drinking water disinfection by-products.