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The purpose of this study was to identify fundamental and important needs for information on the effects of changes in the quality of the environment, and to recom- mend research programs and strategies for meeting those needs. Several organizing concepts and central themes related to research on effects of pollution are empha- sized throughout the report: 1. The complexity of environmental exposures and causative processes and the almost limitless number of substances that are or m.ay become environmental contami- nants make a substance-by-substance approach to research on effects impractical. Instead, this report examines categories of effects that may be produced in various living and nonliving receptors. Research on these effects cannot be all-inclusive; instead, it must build and refine a framework of general principles, based initially upon detailed understanding of a limited number of effects of specific substances. 2. The task of understanding effects is multifaceted, and each disciplinary approach (e.g., epidemiology, toxicol- ogy) can shed light on only a part of a problem. In any area, be it human health, ecology, or effects on climate, a multidisciplinary, problem-oriented strategy for research is essential. In order to achieve an adequate understanding of a cause-effect relationship, congruent results are needed from laboratory tests, measurements of effects in the field, and studies of mechanisms of action. 3. There are definite limits tc what can be learned from research on the effects of pollutants. Inadequate basic knowledge and the sheer complexity of processes being studied make it impossible except in isolated instances to answer with certainty the kinds of questions posed by, for example, interactions among multiple causative agents or the long-term effects on climate of the combusticn of fuels. Regulatory decisions usually must of necessity be based on partial information and on extrapolated estimates of risks; nevertheless, research can narrow the range of uncertainty. Furthermore, long-term research cn fundamental scientific

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problems is the most effective way tc unravel such myste- ries, ard studies of this kind must be supported for their value to future decision making. H. We recognize the need to establish priorities for allocating resources among research programs on dif- ferent aspects of the effects of a polluted environment, we believe firmly that it is vital for a national research strategy to maintain diversity and balance among different problem areas (e.g., health, ecological effects) and re- search approaches (e.g., toxicological testing, simulation modeling). Research planning must also balance the need for research to support immediate decisicns with the need to increase fundamental scientific understanding. That said, this report does identify some priorities among infor- mation needs within particular problem areas or research approaches. Our recommended priorities are based on an assessment of an appropriate comprehensive strategy for all research on effects of pollutants; they reflect judg- ments of the usefulness of different kinds of informaticn to the advancement of knowledge needed fcr both current and future environmental management decisions. We recog- nize that these priorities may not be entirely appropriate for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with its specific legislative mandates and deadlines and the shifting political demands being made upcr it. Cur charge, however, was to address information needs in the broader context. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS ANE RECOMMENDATIONS Charter 2 addresses problems that apply to research in several different problem areas, and recommends some elements of a general strategy fcr research. The solution tc some problems that are vital to under- standing effects of environmental changes requires a long- term commitment of effort that is usually not possible in an atmosphere of rapid responses to a shifting array of new issues. We therefore recommend that such research be conducted in institutions without day-to-day regulatory responsibilities. In our judgment, the top priority that has been assigned to research on effects cn human health in the past has been somewhat at the expense of investigations of other kinds of impacts. In the future, added emphasis should be given to research on effects of pollution on critical ecosystem func- tions, such as the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients. - 2 -

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There is a pressing need for estimates of the costs of pollution that are properly grounded in economic theory and make the best use of available data. We recommend that economists and natural scientists interact as early as pos- sible in the planning and conduct of research, so that data gathered will be useful for economic as well as scientific analyses. In order to take advantage of the opportunities for research presented by well-defined episodes of heavy pol- lution, an improved capability should be established for rapid investigations of the effects of such incidents. Such a rapid-response function should draw upon the resources of both EPA and the Center for Disease Control. The way in which research results are used in the decision-making process is also examined in Chapter 2. We conclude that policies should be adopted to foster extensive peer review and critical evaluation of the scientific basis for regulatory decisions. The failure to make public a rigorous assessment of research data has in the past been a part of the cause for reversal of some of EPA's decisions, we reccmmend, therefore, that EFA publish detailed sumraries of the evidence it consid- ers, and of the scientific basis for its judgments of the validity and credibility of specific studies. RESEARCH NEEDS CN EFFECTS ON WEATHER ANC CLIMATE Pollution-induced changes in climate, should they cccur, would probably have more far-reaching consequences than any other effects discussed in this report. Research to model the mechanisms of climatic change is unlikely to resolve critical uncertainties in the timespan during which crucial policy choices muct be made in such areas as energy development. Research should be undertaken, therefore, using somewhat simpler models, to estimate at least the upper and lower limits of potential climatic effects. Cha.Eter_3 assesses research reeds on the effects of pollution en weather and climate. The highest priority for study ir this category is to define the limits cf possible climatic change that might result from carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion cf fossil fuels. Other important information needs include the biological and climatological consequences cf modification of the ozone layer, and impacts on local or regional weather, climate, and biota of sulfur emissions from power plants. It is most important to recognise the international char- acter of each of these problems, and thus of any contem- plated remedial actions. - 3 -

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RESEARCH NEEDS CN EFFECTS ON HUMAN HEALTH Measures to protect human health from effects of envi- ronmental pollutants will continue to require multifaceted research support, as examined in £ha.Eter..J». At present, the greatest need is for more and better^information on the health status and mortality rates of populations ex- posed to polluted environments; the highest priority for research, therefore, should be given to epidemiological studies. Improved registries of mortality and morbidity data are an essential prerequisite to such research. Recommended areas of emphasis in epidemiology include studies of the roles of environmental factors in causing cancer and chronic degenerative diseases; increased sur- veillance of populations for mutations and birth defects; and Studies to correlate behavioral effects with other indicators of toxic response. In the field of environmental toxicology, we recommend that the highest priorities be assigned to the refinement of bioassays for rapid screening of potentially toxic sub- stances for such properties as carcinogenicity and mutageni- city, and to advancement of techniques for testing exposures to mixtures of agents. Additional areas of toxicological research that should be emphasized include studies to deter- mine the functional correlates of behavioral effects and investigations of developmental defects caused by prenatal exposures to pollutants. The third important area of research related to health effects is investigation of the mechanisms of action of toxic agents. We recommend that research be concentrated on the development of increasingly detailed knowledge of a relatively small number of critical metabolic pathways for a limited number of agents, rather than dispersed among efforts to describe parts of the picture for a large number of substances. RESEARCH NEEDS ON EFFECTS ON WILD AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS As in other problem areas, ar integrated multidisci- plinary approach is required to determine the effects of specific environmental pollutants on particular species of animals and to support the formulation of some general principles. In Qha.Eter.^5 we recommend that highest prior- ity be placed on closely coordinated laboratory and field studies to examine the subtle effects of chronic low-level pollutior or the behavior and reproduction of animal popu- lations. Closely related needs are for studies of the consequences of such effects for populations in ecological

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communities, and for information on the physiological ard ecological mechanisms of action cf pollutants, we also recommend active exploration of the usefulness of epide- mic logical studies of domestic animals, both as a tool to detect effects on animals and as a sentinel for possible hazards to humans living in the same environments. RESEARCH NEEDS CN EFFECTS ON AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST PLANTS The greatest need for information about pollution- induced injury to plants is to determine the effects on agricultural crops and forest vegetation of chronic expo- sures to low-level contamination of the environment. The development of such knowledge will require coordinated research programs, described in £ha£tej:_6. The critical needs include monitoring the atmosphere and precipitation in agricultural and forest areas to determine contaminant levels; laboratory chamber studies to obtain dose-response data for vegetation damage under controlled conditions; more extensive field studies to measure injury under actual outdoor growing conditions, including some work using experimental enclosures; and investigations of the mecha- nisms of pollutant action and plant response. RESEARCH NEEDS ON EFFECTS ON EIOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES AND ECOSYSTEMS Research on effects at the community and ecosystem levels of biological organization requires quite a differ- ent approach from that used to study effects on organises or species. The elements of such an approach are described in £ha.E£e.£-2, In order to measure and predict effects on critical ecological characteristics such as community struc- ture and diversity, productivity, energy flow, or nutrient cycles, research programs should integrate the results of laboratory studies using microcosms and ether simplified model systems, controlled experinental perturbations of biological communities in the field, simulation modeling techniques, and long-term field observation of critical indicators of the structural and functional integrity of ecosystems. Experimental perturbations in the field deserve highest priority for support of environmental decisions. The study of nutrient cycles is highlighted as an example of an area in which research resources might best b« concentrated in order to learn more about the effec* ' of pollutants on ecological processes. - 5 -

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RESEARCH NEEDS ON EFFECTS CN MATERIALS Damage to inanimate materials due tc environmental pcl- lutarts is extensive and costly. The most critical need as far as understanding and preventing such damage is not increased study of the problems, but improved coordination of existing research programs and more effective dissemi- nation and use of available knowledge. For this reason* our highest-priority recommendation in £J2aE£e£_§ is that lead responsibility for federal government research on environmental effects or materials be assigned to a single agency. In addition, some particular research areas that deserve emphasis are studies of the mechanisms of deteri- oration and methods to prevent such damage where it occurs in the form of corrosion of metals, damage to organic mate- rials, and destruction of irreplaceable objects such as works of art, monuments, rare bocks, and historic docu- ments. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS Our recommendations for research programs are accom- panied by suggestions for assignments of responsibility for the conduct, support, and coordination of the re- search. He have emphasized the roles of many different agencies of the federal government in environmental re- search; but, where appropriate, roles for investigators in state agencies, universities, industry, and other pri- vate research instituticns are also described. Suggestions for apportioning responsibility among agencies are included in our recommendations for research on most problems. These are based on knowledge of past contributions and current programs and of the legislative mandates, research needs, and mix of expertise of the dif- ferent agencies; and on our judgments of the kinds of re- search programs best suited to carry out particular rec- ommended investigations. In some cases, even though cer- tain research is very important for environmental protec- tion, we recommend that EPA should jjpjt devote its limited resources to such studies, because sufficient research cf high quality is already being dore elsewhere. In many areas, we recommend that a number of agencies and institu- tions should cooperate to use their complementary strengths and capabilities to carry out needed programs. The numer- ous examples of problems that require multifaceted study add significant weight tc the need for close coordination and collaboration among agencies with common research interests, a need that is so often cited but so seldom effectively achieved. Needs and mechanisms fcr coordination of federal environmental research are addressed in detail in the report - 6 -

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of the Environmental Research Assessment committee (National Research Council [NRC] 1977), REFERENCE National Research Council (1977) Research and Development in the Environmental Protection Agency. Analytical Studies for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Volume III. A Report of the Environmental Research Assessment Committee, Environmental studies Board, Commission on Natural Resources. Washington, D,c.: National Academy of Sciences. - 7 -