Toxic Substances: EPA Has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals but Could Strengthen Its Approach

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made progress implementing its new approach to managing toxic chemicals under its existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority; particularly by increasing efforts to obtain chemical toxicity and exposure data and initiating chemical risk assessments--which EPA uses, along with other information, to decide what regulatory or other actions, if any, are warranted. The results of EPA's data collection activities, in most cases, have yet to be realized, and it may take several years before EPA obtains much of ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 22, 2013.

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made progress implementing its new approach to managing toxic chemicals under its existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority; particularly by increasing efforts to obtain chemical toxicity and exposure data and initiating chemical risk assessments--which EPA uses, along with other information, to decide what regulatory or other actions, if any, are warranted. The results of EPA's data collection activities, in most cases, have yet to be realized, and it may take several years before EPA obtains much of the data it is seeking. Also, EPA has not pursued some opportunities to obtain chemical data that companies submit to foreign governments or to obtain data from chemical processors that prepare chemical substances after their manufacture for distribution in commerce--some of which could help support the agency's risk assessment activities. Of the 83 chemicals EPA has prioritized for risk assessment, it initiated 7 assessments in 2012 and plans to start 18 additional assessments in 2013 and 2014. However, it may take several years to complete these initial risk assessments and, at the agency's current pace, over a decade to complete all 83, especially as EPA does not have the toxicity and exposure data needed for 58 of the 83 chemicals prioritized for risk assessment. In addition to its risk assessment activity, EPA has initiated other actions--such as increasing review of certain new uses of chemicals--that may discourage the use of these chemicals, but it is too early to tell whether these actions will reduce chemical risks."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 22, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Toxic Substances: EPA Has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals but Could Strengthen Its Approach, report, March 22, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299500/: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.