Federal Reregistration of Pesticides and Reassessment of Tolerances Will Extend Into the 21st Century

T-RCED-87-27: Published: Jun 8, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 1987.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation of pesticides. GAO noted that: (1) EPA has not carried out its congressional mandate to completely reassess the risks of all registered pesticides; (2) until EPA completes its reassessment, it cannot ensure that the public and the environment are protected from dangerous pesticides; (3) EPA registers pesticides and sets tolerances for food pesticide content; (4) after initial delays in the reassessment, Congress authorized EPA to determine the safety of pesticide chemicals, rather than individual pesticide products; (5) EPA reassessment efforts have included a telephone program to gather missing information on pesticide effects, an initiative to develop a regulatory position on each pesticide chemical, and an informal review process to review existing pesticide registrations in the face of new evidence regarding product safety; (6) EPA has only issued two final pesticide registrations; (7) EPA only recently began to assess the effects of pesticide inert ingredients; and (8) EPA resource limitations and the large volume of chemicals to be assessed could delay the reassessment effort's completion by more than 30 years.

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