EPA recognized that metals present unique risk assessment issues, and saw the need to develop a framework document that puts forth key scientific principles for metals risk assessments to help ensure consistency in metals assessments across EPA programs and regional offices. This framework, called the "Framework for Metals Risk Assessment," is a science-based document that describes basic principles that address the special attributes and behaviors of metals and metal compounds to be considered when assessing their human health and ecological risks. The Risk Assessment Forum oversaw the development of this document, including input from stakeholders and experts throughout the Agency, and obtained through several expert workshops, followed by peer review by the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB). The Framework for Metals Risk Assessment document is intended to serve as a guide for all EPA programs and regional offices to supplement or update the policies, practices and guidance they currently use in their respective metals assessments. This framework document is not a prescriptive guide on how any particular type of assessment should be conducted within an EPA program office. Rather, it outlines key metal principles and describes how they should be considered in conducting human health and ecological risk assessments to advance our understanding of metals impact and foster consistency across EPA programs and regions. Although the audience for the framework is primarily intended to be Agency risk assessors, it also will communicate principles and recommendations for metals risk assessment to stakeholders and the public. This framework will be used in conjunction with guidance developed by the programs and regions for site-specific risk assessment, criteria derivation, ranking or categorization and other similar Agency activities related to metals. The Framework for Metals Risk Assessment document is intended to serve as a guide for all EPA programs and regional offices to supplement or update the policies, practices and guidance they currently use in their respective metals assessments. EPA assessments can vary in level of detail from simple, screening analyses to complex, definitive assessments. More complex scientific tools and metal specific methods should be applied as the complexity of the hazard assessment or risk assessment increases.