Pesticides play a significant role in increasing production of tobacco, food, and other crops by reducing the number of crop-destroying pests. However, if used improperly, pesticides can have significant adverse health effects. GAO was asked to (1) identify the pesticides commonly used on tobacco crops and the potential health risks associated with them, (2) determine how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assesses and mitigates health risks associated with pesticides used on tobacco, and (3) assess the extent to which federal agencies regulate and test for pesticide residues on tobacco.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Agriculture||1. To better protect the public from exposures to residues of pesticides not approved for use on tobacco in the United States and ensure that domestic tobacco producers are not placed at an unfair disadvantage relative to producers in other countries, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture should direct the Administrators of the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Farm Service Agency to periodically review and update the pesticides for which they set residue limits and test imported and domestic tobacco.|