"Some of these things we are suggesting are transformational. But some things could be done rather soon," Zeise said.
New technologies could vastly improve risk assessments by answering lingering questions about the risks that chemicals pose to human health. But they are at least a decade away so the EPA should not wait, the panel said.
While the committee's recommendations are valid, "the key thing is whether there will be support" for such substantial changes within the government, said UCLA's Jackson, former director of the federal government's National Center for Environmental Health.
Cranor said the biggest limitation of the recommendations is that they would come under existing U.S. laws, which he said do not require chemical companies to supply adequate data about the dangers of chemicals before they are used in commerce.
"This document is a valiant attempt to improve the functioning of these laws," he said. "But we wouldn’t have to worry as much about many of these substances if we had far superior testing and screening of them before people are exposed.”
Download the complete report here from the National Academies Press.
This article originally ran at Environmental Health News, a news source published by Environmental Health Sciences, a nonprofit media company.