EPA's Safety Assessment of Substitutes for Ozone-Depleting Chemicals and Legal Issues Relating to CFC and Halon Production Rights

T-RCED-89-28: Published: Apr 18, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1989.

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GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) safety assessment of substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and other ozone-depleting chemicals. GAO found that: (1) chemical producers were working to develop CFC substitutes and were testing the alternatives both individually and as part of two international joint testing programs; (2) EPA has statutory responsibility to ensure that chemical substitutes do not pose unreasonable risks to humans and the environment; (3) in November 1988, EPA developed an approach for assessing the safety of new and existing chemicals as potential CFC substitutes, but did not use its authority to require producers to provide it with their unpublished health and safety studies; (4) EPA also did not use its authority to require producers to provide it with advance notification of intended significant new uses of existing chemicals as CFC substitutes, which would allow EPA to assess the safety of new uses and control potentially harmful chemicals; and (5) without prior notification requirements, anyone can produce most potential substitutes in any amount and for any use. GAO also found that EPA was considering economic measures to capture windfall profits that CFC production limits might create, but it was difficult to determine whether EPA had authority to use such measures before it made its proposal.

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