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Highlights

In response to congressional requests, GAO reported on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to determine the: (1) risks associated with the use of nonagricultural pesticides; (2) extent of public information concerning such risks; and (3) requirements for professional pesticide applicators to protect the public from misuse.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Because it may be several decades before EPA assesses the chronic health risks of nonagricultural pesticides, Congress may wish to consider whether pesticide labels should state that EPA has not assessed the pesticides' chronic health risks in accordance with current standards.
Closed - Not Implemented
Congress has not acted on this recommendation. This point was repeated in the GAO transition report and is still a valid issue. A congressional hearing on March 28, 1990, dealt with the issue, but no action was taken. No further consideration is contemplated.
Congress may wish to consider whether the: (1) public should be notified when public places are treated with pesticides; and (2) federal government should have a role in ensuring that the public is notified.
Closed - Not Implemented
Legislation addressing this issue is unlikely to be considered by Congress any time in the near future.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency 1. If the Administrator, EPA, does not have the resources to act against unacceptable safety claims by pesticide distributors, he should inform Congress, so it can decide whether to authorize additional resources, or grant EPA relief from this enforcement responsibility.
Closed - Not Implemented
This issue was dealt with in a followup report, RCED-90-134, recommending EPA develop an enforcement strategy that will make better use of its resources. EPA responded on June 14, 1990, that it is taking appropriate steps in this regard.
Environmental Protection Agency 2. The Administrator, EPA, should seek an arrangement between EPA and FTC for controlling unacceptable safety claims by professional pesticide applicators. If additional resources are needed, Congress should be so informed.
Closed - Not Implemented
This issue was dealt with in a followup report, RCED-90-134, recommending EPA seek legislative authority over pesticide applications. EPA responded on June 14, 1990, that it will determine the need for further action on this recommendation by the end of 1990, upon completion of a study to determine the scope of false advertising claims.
Environmental Protection Agency 3. The Administrator, EPA, should: (1) encourage states that do not have unrestricted pesticide applicator control programs to institute such programs; and (2) develop a model pesticide applicator control program for voluntary use by the states.
Closed - Not Implemented
EPA stated it will continue to encourage states to implement training and other programs to upgrade the competency of all pesticide users. EPA does not plan to develop a model pesticide applicator control program for use by states.

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