Air Quality Standards:

The Role of the Health Effects Institute in Conducting Research

RCED-86-177BR: Published: Jun 16, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Health Effects Institute's (HEI) scientific research on the effects of motor vehicle emissions on human health, specifically: (1) the adequacy of HEI organizational structure and internal controls; (2) the quality, credibility, and relevance of its research; (3) HEI success in reducing adversarial disputes over technical issues and scientific data; and (4) the cost-effectiveness of its research activities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 24 automobile and engine manufacturers cofund HEI, which is a nonprofit corporation organized to provide unbiased, independent research on motor vehicle emissions hazards. GAO found that: (1) HEI has 49 research projects underway at an estimated cost of $15 million, has completed 4 of the projects, and will probably issue reports on 28 more by late 1986; (2) EPA and industry officials feel that HEI products are credible, of high quality, and objective; (3) EPA obtains $2 of research activity for each federal dollar provided; (4) EPA considers at least 44 percent of HEI research to be highly relevant to current regulatory and public policy issues; and (5) if funding is continued, more open dialogue between EPA and HEI could help to ensure that the number of mutually agreed-upon, relevant research projects increases. GAO believes that HEI is performing high quality research and found nothing to indicate that funding should not continue.

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