Information on Various Pesticide-Related Issues

RCED-96-51R: Published: Dec 20, 1995. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation of food-use pesticides, focusing on: (1) whether EPA maintains a ranking of the highest-risk cancer-causing food-use pesticides; (2) whether certain high-risk cancer-causing food-use pesticides appeared in the Environmental Working Group's 1995 study; (3) the extent to which EPA uses outside contractors to review studies submitted by pesticide registrants; (4) the procedures EPA follows when cancelling the use of a pesticide; and (5) EPA standards for establishing an import tolerance. GAO noted that: (1) EPA does not maintain lists of the highest ranking cancer-causing food-use pesticides because it believes that such lists are misleading; (2) EPA evaluates the information that is submitted about a certain pesticide and determines whether it will pose a risk to humans or the environment when issuing a reregistration document; (3) none of the 10 high-risk cancer-causing food-use pesticides identified in 1984 appear in the Environmental Working Group's 1995 study; (4) EPA use of outside contractors to review registrants' health and environmental studies varies by department and depends on the availability of the current contract; (5) EPA has to issue a letter of its intent to cancel a pesticide, after which the registrant has 30 days to make the requested corrections or request a hearing; and (6) if EPA determines that the import tolerances established for a pesticide pose no dietary risk, the tolerances are retained.

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