Toxic Substances:

Status of EPA's Reviews of Chemicals Under the Chemical Testing Program

RCED-92-31FS: Published: Oct 31, 1991. Publicly Released: Dec 9, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided detailed information on 16 of 22 chemicals tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for health and environmental effects, focusing on: (1) testing and review time frames; (2) EPA test data reviews; and (3) EPA actions in response to its findings.

GAO found that: (1) as of June 1991, EPA had completed its review of test results for 16 of 22 chemicals which met data submission requirements; (2) EPA plans no further action on 7 of the 16 chemicals with negative test results; (3) despite test results indicating potential adverse effects, EPA plans no further action on an eighth chemical because its exposure to people or the environment was low; (4) four of the eight remaining chemicals showed adverse effects and EPA referred those chemicals to other agencies and EPA offices for possible regulatory action; (5) EPA was planning additional testing for two other chemicals that did not indicate potential adverse effects, but were of sufficient concern to warrant testing; (6) EPA was waiting for the results of further ongoing testing before deciding what action to take on the final two chemicals; (7) from their nomination for testing through the completion of EPA reviews, the average time required for testing the 16 completed chemicals was 8 years; and (8) when the industry does not agree with the testing plan and time frames, EPA can issue a final test rule, under which industry must conduct the testing program according to EPA specifications.

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