About BEST

HISTORY: The Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology was formed in February 1986 from the merger of the Board on Toxicology and Environmental Health Hazards (est. 1977) and the Environmental Studies Board (est. 1967).


MISSION: To provide our nation with independent, objective advice and dialog on matters related to the impacts of human activities and environmental exposures on environmental quality and human health.


HOW WE DO IT: Renowned experts are convened to address scientific and technical issues of relevance to study sponsors and the nation. Activities include:


  • Consensus studies: Multidisciplinary expert committees use data gathering and consensus approaches, for example, to recommend decision-making frameworks or paradigms, evaluate environmental management options, develop visions and strategies for scientific research and its application, conduct and review chemical assessments, and evaluate scientific programs.
  • Workshops and other gatherings: Experts are convened in a neutral setting to discuss topics of wide-ranging scope and complexity.




  • Toxicology
  • Exposure science
  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental regulations
  • Ecology
  • Research management
  • Public health
  • Risk assessment
  • Occupational health
  • Risk communication
  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental sciences and management





Frameworks and Paradigms

A Framework to Guide Selection of Chemical Alternatives (2014)

A Risk-Characterization Framework for Decision-Making at the Food and Drug Administration (2011)

Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment (2009)

Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment (1994)


Environmental Science and Management

Investigative Strategies for Lead-Source Attribution at Superfund Sites Associated with Mining Activities (2017)

Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use (2009)

Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects (2007)

Air Quality Management in the United States (2004)

Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope (2003)

Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices (2002)


Visions and Strategies

Using 21st Century Science to Improve Risk-Related Evaluations (2017)

Application of Modern Toxicology Approaches for Predicting Acute Toxicity for Chemical Defense (2015)

Sustainability Concepts in Decision Making, Tools and Approaches for the US Environmental Protection Agency (2014)

Exposure Science in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy (2012)

Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy (2007)


Chemical Assessments and Reviews

Review of the Styrene Assessment in the National Toxicology Program 12th Report on Carcinogens (2014)

Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde (2011)

Phthalates and Cumulative Risk Assessment: The Tasks Ahead (2008)

Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals (20 volumes, 2000-2016)


Program Reviews

A Review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results Research Program (2017)

Review of EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Process (2014)

Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter (four volumes, 1998-2004)

Evaluating Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Programs (2001)