Science for
Environmental Protection

 THE    ROAD    AHEAD

Committee on Science for EPA’s Future

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Division on Earth and Life Studies

National Research Council

      NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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Committee on Science for EPA's Future Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Division on Earth and Life Studies National Research Council

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Insti- tute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by contract number EP-C-09-003, TO#: 13 between the Na- tional Academy of Sciences and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that pro- vided support for this project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-26489-1 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-26489-8 Library of Congress Control Number: 2012951535 Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334- 3313; http://www.nap.edu/. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the re- sponsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Na- tional Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE FOR EPA'S FUTURE Members JERALD L. SCHNOOR (Chair), University of Iowa, Iowa City TINA BAHADORI, American Chemistry Council, Washington, DC (resigned March 23, 2012) ERIC J. BECKMAN, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA THOMAS A. BURKE, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD FRANK W. DAVIS, University of California, Santa Barbara DAVID L. EATON, University of Washington, Seattle PAUL GILMAN, Covanta Energy, Fairfield, NJ DANIEL S. GREENBAUM, Health Effects Institute, Boston, MA STEVEN P. HAMBURG, Environmental Defense Fund, Boston, MA JAMES E. HUTCHISON, University of Oregon, Eugene JONATHAN I. LEVY, Boston University, Boston, MA DAVID E. LIDDLE, U.S. Venture Partners, Menlo Park, CA JANA B. MILFORD, University of Colorado, Boulder M. GRANGER MORGAN, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA ANA NAVAS-ACIEN, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD GORDON H. ORIANS, University of Washington (retired), Lake Forest Park, WA JOAN B. ROSE, Michigan State University, East Lansing JAMES S. SHORTLE, Pennsylvania State University, University Park JOEL A. TICKNER, University of Massachusetts, Lowell ANTHONY D. WILLIAMS, Anthony D. Williams Consulting, Toronto, Ontario, Canada YILIANG ZHU, University of South Florida, Tampa Staff HEIDI MURRAY-SMITH, Project Director JAMES REISA, Director, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology DAVID POLICANSKY, Scholar KERI STOEVER, Research Associate NORMAN GROSSBLATT, Senior Editor MIRSADA KARALIC-LONCAREVIC, Manager, Technical Information Center RADIAH ROSE, Manager, Editorial Projects CRAIG PHILIP, Senior Program Assistant Sponsor US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY v

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BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY1 Members ROGENE F. HENDERSON (Chair), Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, NM PRAVEEN AMAR, Clean Air Task Force, Boston, MA MICHAEL J. BRADLEY, M.J. Bradley & Associates, Concord, MA JONATHAN Z. CANNON, University of Virginia, Charlottesville GAIL CHARNLEY, HealthRisk Strategies, Washington, DC FRANK W. DAVIS, University of California, Santa Barbara RICHARD A. DENISON, Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC CHARLES T. DRISCOLL, JR., Syracuse University, New York H. CHRISTOPHER FREY, North Carolina State University, Raleigh RICHARD M. GOLD, Holland & Knight, LLP, Washington, DC LYNN R. GOLDMAN, George Washington University, Washington, DC LINDA E. GREER, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, DC WILLIAM E. HALPERIN, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark PHILIP K. HOPKE, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY HOWARD HU, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor SAMUEL KACEW, University of Ottawa, Ontario ROGER E. KASPERSON, Clark University, Worcester, MA THOMAS E. MCKONE, University of California, Berkeley TERRY L. MEDLEY, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Wilmington, DE JANA MILFORD, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder FRANK O'DONNELL, Clean Air Watch, Washington, DC RICHARD L. POIROT, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Waterbury KATHRYN G. SESSIONS, Health and Environmental Funders Network, Bethesda, MD JOYCE S. TSUJI, Exponent Environmental Group, Bellevue, WA Senior Staff JAMES J. REISA, Director DAVID J. POLICANSKY, Scholar RAYMOND A. WASSEL, Senior Program Officer for Environmental Studies ELLEN K. MANTUS, Senior Program Officer for Risk Analysis SUSAN N.J. MARTEL, Senior Program Officer for Toxicology EILEEN N. ABT, Senior Program Officer MIRSADA KARALIC-LONCAREVIC, Manager, Technical Information Center RADIAH ROSE, Manager, Editorial Projects 1 This study was planned, overseen, and supported by the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. vi

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OTHER REPORTS OF THE BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY Exposure Science in the 21st Century: A Vision and A Strategy (2012) A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials (2012) Macondo WellDeepwater Horizon Blowout: Lessons for Improving Offshore Drilling Safety (2012) Feasibility of Using Mycoherbicides for Controlling Illicit Drug Crops (2011) Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment (2011) A Risk-Characterization Framework for Decision-Making at the Food and Drug Administration (2011) Review of the Environmental Protection Agency's Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde (2011) Toxicity-Pathway-Based Risk Assessment: Preparing for Paradigm Change (2010) The Use of Title 42 Authority at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2010) Review of the Environmental Protection Agency's Draft IRIS Assessment of Tetrachloroethylene (2010) Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use (2009) Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune--Assessing Potential Health Effects (2009) Review of the Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research (2009) Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment (2009) Phthalates and Cumulative Risk Assessment: The Tasks Ahead (2008) Estimating Mortality Risk Reduction and Economic Benefits from Controlling Ozone Air Pollution (2008) Respiratory Diseases Research at NIOSH (2008) Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2008) Hydrology, Ecology, and Fishes of the Klamath River Basin (2008) Applications of Toxicogenomic Technologies to Predictive Toxicology and Risk Assessment (2007) Models in Environmental Regulatory Decision Making (2007) Toxicity Testing in the Twenty-first Century: A Vision and a Strategy (2007) Sediment Dredging at Superfund Megasites: Assessing the Effectiveness (2007) Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects (2007) Scientific Review of the Proposed Risk Assessment Bulletin from the Office of Management and Budget (2007) Assessing the Human Health Risks of Trichloroethylene: Key Scientific Issues (2006) New Source Review for Stationary Sources of Air Pollution (2006) Human Biomonitoring for Environmental Chemicals (2006) Health Risks from Dioxin and Related Compounds: Evaluation of the EPA Reassessment (2006) vii

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Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA's Standards (2006) State and Federal Standards for Mobile-Source Emissions (2006) Superfund and Mining Megasites--Lessons from the Coeur d'Alene River Basin (2005) Health Implications of Perchlorate Ingestion (2005) Air Quality Management in the United States (2004) Endangered and Threatened Species of the Platte River (2004) Atlantic Salmon in Maine (2004) Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin (2004) Cumulative Environmental Effects of Alaska North Slope Oil and Gas Development (2003) Estimating the Public Health Benefits of Proposed Air Pollution Regulations (2002) Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices (2002) The Airliner Cabin Environment and Health of Passengers and Crew (2002) Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update (2001) Evaluating Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Programs (2001) Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act (2001) A Risk-Management Strategy for PCB-Contaminated Sediments (2001) Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals (twelve volumes, 2000-2012) Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury (2000) Strengthening Science at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2000) Scientific Frontiers in Developmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment (2000) Ecological Indicators for the Nation (2000) Waste Incineration and Public Health (2000) Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment (1999) Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter (four volumes, 1998-2004) The National Research Council's Committee on Toxicology: The First 50 Years (1997) Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet (1996) Upstream: Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest (1996) Science and the Endangered Species Act (1995) Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries (1995) Biologic Markers (five volumes, 1989-1995) Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment (1994) Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (1993) Dolphins and the Tuna Industry (1992) Science and the National Parks (1992) Human Exposure Assessment for Airborne Pollutants (1991) Rethinking the Ozone Problem in Urban and Regional Air Pollution (1991) Decline of the Sea Turtles (1990) Copies of these reports may be ordered from the National Academies Press (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 www.nap.edu viii

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Preface The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. --William Lawrence Bragg Environmental protection in the 21st century requires a new way of think- ing about pollution and its drivers, scale, effects, and solutions. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the mission of protect- ing human health and the environment. EPA helps to identify emerging and fu- ture problems, it assesses the fate and effects of pollutants, and it researches methods for prevention, intervention, and remediation. Science at EPA should be relevant to the agency's mission, it should be of high quality and high prior- ity, and it should be continuously reviewed by peer scientists, engineers, and social scientists. With a 42-year history, EPA finds itself in the second decade of the new millennium with different challenges and variable public support for its mission to protect human health and the environment. It has successfully controlled pol- lution and improved public health and welfare since it was formed in 1970. Its success has stemmed largely from the establishment and enforcement of its regulatory programs under the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Clean Air Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; the Comprehensive Envi- ronmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act; and other statutes. That success has been informed by research within the agency and outside the agency by academe, nonprofit organizations, industry consultants, federal agencies, and other partnering agencies and institu- tions. Many of today's problems present challenges of great scope, spatial scale, and complexity. Some pose a new suite of emerging environmental threats, while others persist and have yet to be completely solved. Examples of today's environmental problems include the deterioration of air quality due to a warmer, moister climate; effects of the energy production required to fuel a modern, growing economy; hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, and eutrophication from ag- ricultural runoff and nutrient pollution; overload of urban stormwater and bypass of raw sewage exacerbated by sprawl and storm severity; and loss of species due ix

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x Preface to land use and climate change. Those are problems of the 21st century, and addressing them will require the best available science and technology possible in a resource-constrained world. In 2011, EPA asked the National Research Council to assess independ- ently the overall capabilities of the agency to develop, obtain, and use the best available scientific and technologic information and tools to meet persistent, emerging, and future mission challenges and opportunities. In response, the Na- tional Research Council convened the Committee on Science for EPA's Future, which prepared this report. The committee brings together a wide array of ex- pertise to address major changes in the biophysical and societal environment, including risk assessment and management, computational techniques and bioin- formatics, data mining and assimilation, crowd sourcing, benefitcost analyses of environmental regulations, developments in public health, and organizational collaborations within EPA and beyond. The committee also called on numerous people from within EPA and experts who collaborate with EPA for their per- spectives and insight on science for EPA's future. It assessed the major drivers of environmental change and tried to describe characteristics of the challenges of coming decades, discussed emerging tools and technologies that can be brought to bear on those challenges, and formulated some principles for how to build environmental protection in the 21st century while enhancing EPA's lead- ership and capacity. This present report has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council Report Review Committee. The purpose of the independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards of objectivity, evi- dence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative proc- ess. We thank the following for their review of the report: John C. Bailar, III, The University of Chicago; Ann Bostrom, University of Washington; Charles M. Auer, Charles Auer & Associates, LLC; John P. Connolly, Anchor QEA, LLC; John Crittenden, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jerome J. Cura, The Science Collaborative; Bernard D. Goldstein, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health; Chao-Jun Li, McGill University; David L. Macintosh, Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.; Denise L. Mauzerall, Princeton Uni- versity; Stephen Polasky, University of Minnesota; Joseph P. Rodricks, ENVIRON; Pamela Shubat, Minnesota Department of Health; Ponisseril Soma- sundaran, Columbia University; and Mark J. Utell, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of the report was overseen by the review coordinator, Edwin H. Clark II, Earth Policy Institute, and the review monitor, Mike Kavanaugh, Geo-

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Preface xi syntec Consultants. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of the report rests entirely with the committee and the institution. The committee gratefully acknowledges Paul Anastas, Al McGartland, Iris Goodman, Kristen Keteles, Jeff Morris, Peter Preuss, and Kevin Teichman, of EPA, and David Miller, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sci- ences, for making presentations to the committee. The committee is also grateful for the assistance of the National Research Council staff in preparing this report. Staff members who contributed to the ef- fort are Heidi Murray-Smith, project director; James Reisa, director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology; David Policansky, scholar; Keri Sto- ever, research associate; Norman Grossblatt, senior editor; Mirsada Karalic- Loncarevic, manager of the Technical Information Center; Radiah Rose, man- ager of editorial projects; and Craig Philip, senior program assistant. I especially thank the members of the committee for their efforts through- out the development of this report. Jerald L. Schnoor, Chair Committee on Science for EPA's Future

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Contents SUMMARY ........................................................................................................ 3 1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................. 15 The Changing Nature of Environmental Problems, 16 Science and Engineering at the US Environmental Protection Agency, 18 The Committee's Task, 22 Organization of the Report, 23 References, 24 2 CHALLENGES OF THE 21st CENTURY ..................................... 27 Major Factors Leading to Environmental Change, 28 Environmental and Human Health Challenges, 32 Summary, 46 References, 48 3 USING EMERGING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGIES TO ADDRESS PERSISTENT AND FUTURE ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES ............................................ 54 A Simple Paradigm for Data-Driven, Science-Informed Decisions in the Environmental Protection Agency, 54 Tools and Technologies to Address Challenges Related to Chemical Exposures, Human Health, and the Environment, 57 Tools and Technologies to Address Challenges Related To Air Pollution and Climate Change, 69 Tools and Technologies to Address Challenges Related To Water Quality, 73 Tools and Technologies to Address Challenges Related To Shifting Spatial and Temporal Scales, 80 Using New Science to Drive Safer Technologies and Products, 88 Summary, 94 References, 95 xiii

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xiv Contents 4 BUILDING SCIENCE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN THE 21st CENTURY ..................................... 107 Embracing Systems Thinking for Producing and Applying Science for Decisions: A 21st Century Framework for Science to Inform Decisions, 109 Staying at the Leading Edge of Science, 110 Enhanced Tools and Skills for Applying Systems Thinking To Inform Decisions, 132 Synthesis and Evaluation for Decisions, 144 Overarching Recommendation, 151 References, 153 5 ENHANCED SCIENTIFIC LEADERSHIP AND CAPACITY IN THE US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY .............................................................. 161 Enhanced Agency-Wide Science Leadership in the US Environmental Protection Agency, 162 Realignment of the Office of Research and Development, 166 Coordination of Science Efforts in the US Environmental Protection Agency, 168 Strengthening Science Capacity, 170 Integrity, Ethics, And Transparency in the US Environmental Protection Agency's Production and Use of Scientific Information, 178 Strengthening Science in a Time of Tight Budgets, 182 Summary, 182 References, 183 6 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................... 187 Systems Thinking, 189 Enhanced Science Leadership, 192 Strengthening Capacity, 194 Science, Tools, and Technologies to Address Current and Future Challenges, 199 Improved Management and Use of Large Datasets, 200 Innovation, 201 Strengthening Science in a Time of Tight Budgets, 203 APPENDIXES A: STATEMENT OF TASK OF THE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE FOR EPA'S FUTURE ................................................... 204 B: BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON THE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE FOR EPA'S FUTURE......................... 206

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Contents xv C: THE RAPIDLY EXPANDING FIELD OF "OMICS" TECHNOLOGIES ............................................................. 215 D: SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, AND INFORMATICS ............................................. 225 BOXES, FIGURES, AND TABLES BOXES 2-1 Environmental Protection Agency Involvement in Climate Change, 39 3-1 Engaging the Public to Gather Information, 84 3-2 Example of Private Industry's Influence on the Supply Chain without Regulatory Mandates, 91 4-1 Principles to Guide the Development of Indicators, 124 4-2 Putting It All Together: The Case of Hydraulic Fracturing, 133 4-3 The Need for and Challenges of Life-Cycle Assessment: The Biofuels Case, 136 4-4 Example of a Solutions-Oriented Approach: Reducing Trichloroethylene Use in Massachusetts, 148 C-1 Comparison of Sanger and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), 217 FIGURES S-1 Framework for enhanced science for environmental protection, 9 1-1 The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment conceptual framework, 18 1-2 Gross trends in drivers and aggregate emissions since 1980 in the United States, 20 2-1 Sources of phosphorus and nitrogen in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay, 44 2-2 Narragansett Bay nitrogen loading from 1850 to 2015 under several different scenarios, 45 3-1 The iterative process of science-informed environmental decision-making and policy, 56 3-2 Characterizing the exposome, 61 3-3 Schematic of an instrumented watershed in an observatory of the national network, 75 4-1 The iterative process of science-informed environmental decision-making and policy, 111 4-2 A framework for sustainable decisions at the US Environmental Protection Agency, 146 6-1 Framework for enhanced science for environmental protection, 190 TABLES 1-1 Change in Conventional Air Pollutant Emissions Over the Last 3 Decades, 20

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xvi Contents 2-1 Some Contrasts between the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, 40 2-2 Large Regional Water Programs in the US Environmental Protection Agency, 47 3-2 Metagenomic Characterization of Pathogens and Microbial Populations in Biosolids, Wastewater, Rivers, and Lakes, 77 5-1 Former and Realigned Structures of EPA's Office of Research and Development, 167