with a wide range of experts, particularly for integrating emerging work in social sciences and information technology with advances in exposure assessment and risk assessment.
EPA has been aware of the implications of the rapid growth of scientific data, concepts, and technical tools and has begun to incorporate many scientific advances into its major activities. It has also made substantial efforts to comprehend the unprecedented complexities of emerging environmental problems and to prepare to respond appropriately to the challenges that these developments pose for both its research and its regulatory responsibilities. However, because EPA is a regulatory agency and is not fundamentally a science agency, the role EPA plays supporting science to protect the environment and human health can sometimes be challenging.
FIGURE 1-1 The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment conceptual framework. Indirect drivers of change (such as demographics, economic factors, science, and technology) can cause changes in ecosystems, which in turn can have direct effects on human well-being. These interactions can exist on local, regional, and global scales and can cause changes in both the short term and long term. Direct and indirect feedbacks among drivers are common. For more information on this particular framework, see MEA 2003 and MEA 2005. Source: Adapted from MEA 2003.