Health hazards (21 - 30 of 69 items)
Hazardous Materials: EPA May Need to Reassess Sites Receiving Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana, and Should Improve Its Public Notification Process
GAO-08-71: Published: Oct 12, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2007.
Between 1923 and the early 1990s, a mine near Libby, Montana, shipped millions of tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite ore to sites throughout the United States. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to clean up asbestos contamination at the Libby mine and evaluate those sites that received the ore to determine if they were contaminated. Under Superfund program regulations...
Environmental Contamination: Department of Defense Activities Related to Trichloroethylene, Perchlorate, and Other Emerging Contaminants
GAO-07-1042T: Published: Jul 12, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2007.
DOD defines emerging contaminants as chemicals or materials with (1) perceived or real threat to health or the environment and (2) lack of published standards or a standard that is evolving or being reevaluated. Two emerging contaminants--trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchlorate--are of particular concern to DOD because they have significant potential to impact people or DOD's mission. TCE, a degre...
Hurricane Katrina: EPA's Current and Future Environmental Protection Efforts Could Be Enhanced by Addressing Issues and Challenges Faced on the Gulf Coast
GAO-07-651: Published: Jun 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2007.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina's impact on the Gulf Coast included damage to the environment from chemical and hazardous materials releases. Also, the widespread demolition and renovation activities still under way in New Orleans may release asbestos fibers into the air, posing a potential additional health risk. This report, conducted at the Comptroller General's initiative, addresses (1) the Environ...
World Trade Center: Preliminary Observations on EPA's Second Program to Address Indoor Contamination
GAO-07-806T: Published: Jun 20, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 2007.
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) turned Lower Manhattan into a disaster site. As the towers collapsed, Lower Manhattan was blanketed with building debris and combustible materials. This complex mixture created a major concern: that thousands of residents and workers in the area would now be exposed to known hazards in the air and in the dust, such as asbesto...
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...
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...
Clean Air Act: Observations on EPA's Cost-Benefit Analysis of Its Mercury Control Options
GAO-05-252: Published: Feb 28, 2005. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2005.
Mercury is a toxic element that can cause neurological disorders in children. In January 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed two options for limiting mercury from power plants, and plans to finalize a rule in March 2005. The first would require each plant to meet emissions standards reflecting the application of control technology (the technology-based option), while the secon...
Environmental Protection: MTBE Contamination From Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-02-753T: Published: May 21, 2002. Publicly Released: May 21, 2002.
To help limit air pollution, about a third of the states use gasoline that contains methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which burns cleaner. However, MTBE has migrated into wells and groundwater from leaking underground tanks used to store gasoline. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility through the Underground Storage Tank Program and works through the states to ensure t...
Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Ensure Safer Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-02-712T: Published: May 8, 2002. Publicly Released: May 8, 2002.
Hazardous substances that leak from underground storage tanks can contaminate the soil and water and pose continuing health risks. Leaks of methyl tertiary butyl ether--a fuel additive--have forced several communities to close their wells. GAO surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine whether tanks are compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) underground st...
Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Better Ensure the Safety of Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-01-464: Published: May 4, 2001. Publicly Released: May 9, 2001.
The states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ensure that all active underground storage tanks have the required leak-, spill-, and overfill-protection equipment installed, nor can they guarantee that the installed equipment is being properly operated and maintained. Although the states and EPA regions focus most of their limited resources on monitoring active tanks, empty or ina...