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Availability of the Systematic Review Protocol for the Inorganic Mercury Salts Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Assessment

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Notice of public comment period.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a 30-day public comment period associated with release of the Systematic Review Protocol for the Inorganic Mercury Salts IRIS Assessment. This document communicates the rationale for conducting the assessment of inorganic mercury salts, describes screening criteria to identify relevant literature, outlines the approach for evaluating study quality, and describes the methods for dose-response analysis.


The 30-day public comment period begins March 11, 2021 and ends April 12, 2021. Comments must be received on or before April 12, 2021.


The Systematic Review Protocol for Inorganic Mercury Salts will be available via the internet on the IRIS website at​iris and in the public docket at, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-ORD-2019-0504.

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For information on the docket, contact the ORD Docket at the EPA Headquarters Docket Center; email:

For technical information on the protocol, contact Mr. Dahnish Shams, Center for Public Health & Environmental Assessment; email:

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I. Background Information on the IRIS Program and Systematic Review Protocols

EPA's IRIS Program is a human health assessment program that evaluates quantitative and qualitative information on effects that may result from exposure to chemicals found in the environment. Through the IRIS Program, EPA provides high quality science-based human health assessments to support the Agency's regulatory activities and decisions to protect public health.

As part of developing a draft IRIS assessment, EPA presents a methods document, referred to as the protocol, for conducting a chemical-specific systematic review of the available scientific literature. EPA is seeking public comment on components of the protocol including the described strategies for literature searches, criteria for study inclusion or exclusion, considerations for evaluating study methods, information management for extracting data, approaches for synthesis within and across lines of evidence, and methods for derivation of toxicity values. Additionally, key science issues that warrant consideration in this assessment are identified in Section 6. The protocol serves to inform the subsequent development of the draft assessment and is made available to the public. EPA may update the protocol based on the evaluation of the literature, and any updates will be posted to the docket and on the IRIS website.

II. How To Submit Technical Comments to the Docket at

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2019-0504 for inorganic mercury salts, by one of the following methods:

  • Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email:
  • Fax: 202-566-9744. Due to COVID-19, there may be a delay in processing comments submitted by fax.
  • Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (ORD Docket), Mail Code: 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460. The phone number is 202-566-1752. Due to COVID-19, there may be a delay in processing comments submitted by mail.

For information on visiting the EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room, visit​dockets. Due to public health concerns related to COVID-19, the EPA Docket Center and Reading Room may be closed to the public with limited exceptions. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is 202-566-1744. The public can submit comments via or email.

Instructions: Direct your comments to EPA-HQ-ORD-2019-0504 for inorganic mercury salts. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the specified comment period. Comments received after the closing date will be marked “late,” and may only be considered if time permits. It is EPA's policy to include all comments it receives in the public docket without change and to make the comments available online at, including any personal information provided, unless a comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information for which disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information through or email that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The website is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at​dockets.

Docket: Documents in the docket are listed in the index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other materials, such as copyrighted material, are publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in or as a hard copy at the ORD Docket in the EPA Headquarters Docket Center.

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Wayne Cascio,

Director, Center for Public Health & Environmental Assessment.

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[FR Doc. 2021-05084 Filed 3-10-21; 8:45 am]