Health hazards (11 - 20 of 69 items)
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...
Hardrock Mining: Information on Abandoned Mines and Value and Coverage of Financial Assurances on BLM Land
GAO-08-574T: Published: Mar 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2008.
The Mining Act of 1872 helped foster the development of the West by giving individuals exclusive rights to mine gold, silver, copper, and other hardrock minerals on federal lands. However, miners often abandoned mines, leaving behind structures, safety hazards, and contaminated land and water. Four federal agencies--the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Office of Sur...
Environmental Justice: Measurable Benchmarks Needed to Gauge EPA Progress in Correcting Past Problems
GAO-07-1140T: Published: Jul 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2007.
A 1994 Executive Order sought to ensure that minority and low-income populations are not subjected to disproportionately high levels of environmental risk. Studies have shown that these groups are indeed disproportionately exposed to air pollution and other environmental and health problems. The Order sought to address the problem by requiring EPA and other federal agencies to make achieving envir...
Perchlorate: EPA Does Not Systematically Track Incidents of Contamination
GAO-07-797T: Published: Apr 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2007.
Perchlorate has been used for decades by the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the defense industry in manufacturing, testing, and firing missiles and rockets. Other uses include fireworks, fertilizers, and explosives. Perchlorate is readily dissolved and transported in water and has been found in groundwater, surface water, and soil across the country....
Clean Air Act: EPA Should Improve the Management of Its Air Toxics Program
GAO-06-669: Published: Jun 23, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2006.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent data indicate that 95 percent of all Americans face an increased likelihood of developing cancer as a result of breathing air toxics--pollutants such as benzene and asbestos that may cause cancer or other serious health problems. Sources of air toxics include large industrial facilities, smaller facilities such as dry cleaners, and cars and t...
Particulate Matter: EPA Has Started to Address the National Academies' Recommendations on Estimating Health Benefits, but More Progress Is Needed
GAO-06-780: Published: Jul 17, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 2006.
A large body of scientific evidence links exposure to particulate matter--a widespread form of air pollution--to serious health problems, including asthma and premature death. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) periodically reviews the appropriate air quality level at which to set national standards to protect the public against the health effects of particulate mat...
Hazardous Waste: EPA Needs to Clarify the Types of Mercury Waste That Can Be Treated and Disposed of Using the Debris Regulations
GAO-06-99: Published: Dec 16, 2005. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2006.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating hazardous wastes (such as mercury) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA, mercury-containing hazardous waste must meet specific treatment standards before land disposal. But, certain difficult to manage waste due, in part, to its large particle size, can follow alternate "debris" standards that pr...
Environmental Justice: EPA Should Devote More Attention to Environmental Justice When Developing Clean Air Rules
GAO-05-289: Published: Jul 25, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 2005.
Executive Order 12898 made achieving "environmental justice" part of the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies. According to EPA, environmental justice involves fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes. EPA developed guidance for considering environmental justice during the development of rules under the Clean Air Act and other activiti...
Clean Air Act: EPA Has Completed Most of the Actions Required by the 1990 Amendments, but Many Were Completed Late
GAO-05-613: Published: May 27, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2005.
While air quality in the United States has steadily improved over the last few decades, more than a hundred million Americans continue to live in communities where pollution causes the air to be unhealthy at times, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Clean Air Act, first passed in 1963, was last reauthorized and amended in 1990, when new programs were created and changes we...
Clean Air Act: Emerging Mercury Control Technologies Have Shown Promising Results, but Data on Long-Term Performance Are Limited
GAO-05-612: Published: May 31, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2005.
In March 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule that will limit emissions of mercury--a toxic element that causes neurological problems--from coal-fired power plants, the nation's largest industrial source of mercury emissions. Under the rule, mercury emissions are to be reduced from a baseline of 48 tons per year to 38 tons in 2010 and to 15 tons in 2018. In the rule, EPA s...