EPA Lacks Assurance That All Adverse Effects Data Have Been Reviewed

T-RCED-92-16: Published: Oct 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) process for identifying, reviewing, and tracking required studies on the adverse health and environmental effects of pesticides, focusing on whether: (1) EPA knows the universe of studies it has received from registrants; and (2) recent EPA initiatives to improve the processing of those studies will ensure that it will timely identify and review all such studies. GAO noted that: (1) EPA may not have identified all unreasonable adverse effects studies that it received from registrants; (2) recent procedural changes will not ensure that all studies submitted to EPA will be reviewed; (3) the EPA tracking system will not provide the level of assurance EPA managers need to be confident that the job is being done right; (4) EPA does not have a uniform rule concerning a registrant's written statement that certain studies of long-term health effects, ecological effects, and pesticides' behavior in the environment do or do not meet or exceed any applicable criteria; (5) while registrants may have complied with section 6(a)(2) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act by submitting data on pesticides' unreasonable adverse effects, prior to 1988 EPA had no means of readily identifying all of the data as section 6(a)(2) submissions; and (6) the issuance of final regulations for implementing section 6(a)(2) to close the gaps that permit registrants to submit, but not specifically identify, unreasonable adverse effects data, would help ensure the timely identification and review of all such studies.

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