Natural Resources and Environment:

EPA's Chemical Testing Program Has Made Little Progress

T-RCED-90-88: Published: Jun 20, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) and the Interagency Testing Committee's (ITC) implementation of the chemical testing program for toxic substances. GAO found that: (1) EPA and ITC had identified for testing less than 1 percent of the more than 60,000 chemicals used; (2) neither EPA nor ITC had produced a list of chemicals that did not require testing; (3) by the end of fiscal year 1989, EPA had completed test data for only 6 chemicals, and had not determined whether those could be regulated; (4) ITC members' poor attendance contributed to its lack of crucial data for making recommendations to EPA; (5) even after publishing proposed test rules, EPA continues to delay issuance of final test rules; and (6) the EPA and ITC testing program lacked overall objectives and a strategy for achievement. GAO believes that: (1) the chemical testing program will continue to make little progress until these problems are addressed; and (2) the lack of internal controls to identify harmful chemicals increases risks to health and the environment.

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