Health hazards (21 - 30 of 127 items)
Coal Combustion Residue: Status of EPA's Efforts to Regulate Disposal
GAO-10-85R: Published: Oct 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2009.
On December 22, 2008, a breach in a surface impoundment (or storage pond) dike at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee resulted in the release of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash--also referred to as coal combustion residue (CCR)--into the nearby Emory River. The spill covered more than 300 acres and made 3 homes uninhabitable; it damaged 23 other homes, plus...
Superfund: Litigation Has Decreased and EPA Needs Better Information on Site Cleanup and Cost Issues to Estimate Future Program Funding Requirements
GAO-09-656: Published: Jul 15, 2009. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 2009.
Under the Superfund program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) places the most seriously contaminated sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA may compel site cleanups by parties responsible for contamination, or conduct cleanups itself and have these parties reimburse its costs. The program is funded by a trust fund, which is largely supported by general fund appropriations. GAO w...
Environmental Contamination: Lessons Learned from the Cleanup of Formerly Used Defense and Military Munitions Sites
GAO-09-779T: Published: Jun 10, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2009.
Under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), the Department of Defense (DOD) has charged the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) with cleaning up 4,700 formerly used defense sites (FUDS) and active sites that were under its jurisdiction when they were initially contaminated. The 661-acre Spring Valley site in Washington, D.C is one such site. Like many other FUDS, the U.S. Army used...
Biomonitoring: EPA Needs to Coordinate Its Research Strategy and Clarify Its Authority to Obtain Biomonitoring Data
GAO-09-353: Published: Apr 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 2009.
Biomonitoring, which measures chemicals in people's tissues or body fluids, has shown that the U.S. population is widely exposed to chemicals used in everyday products. Some of these have the potential to cause cancer or birth defects. Moreover, children may be more vulnerable to harm from these chemicals than adults. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized under the Toxic Substanc...
Hazardous Materials: Status of EPA's Efforts to Assess Sites That May Have Received Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana
GAO-09-6R: Published: Mar 10, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 2009.
In October 2007, we reported on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies had assessed and addressed risks at sites that were thought to have received asbestos-contaminated ore from a mine located in Libby, Montana, and the overall results of these efforts. As we noted at that time, EPA has identified hundreds of sites nationwide that are thought to have received mil...
Superfund: Greater EPA Enforcement and Reporting Are Needed to Enhance Cleanup at DOD Sites
GAO-09-278: Published: Mar 13, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2009.
Prior to the 1980s and the passage of environmental legislation--particularly the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) governing environmental cleanup--Department of Defense (DOD) activities contaminated millions of acres of soil and water on and near DOD sites. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which enforces CERCLA, places the most contaminated...
Hazardous Materials: EPA's Assessment of Sites That May Have Received Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana (GAO-09-7SP, March 2009), an E-supplement to GAO-09-6R
GAO-09-7SP: Published: Mar 10, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2009.
Vermiculite, a fibrous mineral with many commercial and industrial uses, was mined in Libby, Montana, from 1923 through the early 1990s, when the mine was closed. While the mine was operating, ore was shipped to hundreds of processing and receiving sites throughout the United States. The vermiculite ore from the Libby mine was contaminated with asbestos. In 2000, EPA began cleaning up asbestos con...
Chemical Regulation: Options for Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Toxic Substances Control Act
GAO-09-428T: Published: Feb 26, 2009. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2009.
Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 1976, authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to obtain information on the risks of industrial chemicals and to control those that EPA determines pose an unreasonable risk. However, EPA does not have sufficient chemical assessment information to determine whether it should establish controls to limit public exposure to many c...
Electronic Waste: EPA Needs to Better Control Harmful U.S. Exports through Stronger Enforcement and More Comprehensive Regulation
GAO-08-1044: Published: Aug 28, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 2008.
Increasingly, U.S. consumers are recycling their old electronics to prevent the environmental harm that can come from disposal. Concerns have grown, however, that some U.S. companies are exporting these items to developing countries, where unsafe recycling practices can cause health and environmental problems. Items with cathode-ray tubes (CRT) are particularly harmful because they can contain 4 p...
Electronic Waste: Harmful U.S. Exports Flow Virtually Unrestricted Because of Minimal EPA Enforcement and Narrow Regulation
GAO-08-1166T: Published: Sep 17, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 2008.
Increasingly, U.S. consumers are recycling their old electronics to prevent the environmental harm that can come from disposal. Concerns have grown, however, that some U.S. companies are exporting these items to developing countries, where unsafe recycling practices can damage health and the environment. Items with cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) are particularly harmful because they contain lead, a know...