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Highlights

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to: (1) assess the safety of chemical substitutes for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and halons; and (2) investigate other measures designed to reduce dependence on ozone-depleting chemicals.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency 1. To help ensure that EPA has access to unpublished health and safety studies on potential substitutes and is informed about intended new uses of existing chemicals as CFC and halon substitutes, the Administrator, EPA, should use his authority under TSCA section 8(d) to require chemical producers to submit for EPA review their unpublished health and safety studies on chemicals identified by EPA and industry as actual or likely potential substitutes for CFC and halons. EPA should review this data as part of its assessment for the safety of these chemical substitutes to form a basis for requiring additional testing or controls, if needed.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 require the Administrator to require that producers of substitutes submit unpublished health and safety studies, and that they notify EPA not less than 90 days before introducing new or existing chemicals into commerce as substitutes. EPA plans to propose regulations in the winter of 1991-1992.
Environmental Protection Agency 2. To help ensure that EPA has access to unpublished health and safety studies on potential substitutes and is informed about intended new uses of existing chemicals as CFC and halon substitutes, the Administrator, EPA, should use his authority under TSCA section 5(a)(2) to promulgate significant-new-use rules on alternative flourocarbons and other chemicals listed in the TSCA inventory of existing chemicals (or subsequently added to it) that are substitutes, or likely potential substitutes, for CFC and halons. This authority would require chemical producers to notify EPA before these chemicals are produced for significant new uses as CFC and halon substitutes and would enable EPA to review the safety of such uses and quickly control those that pose an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment.
Closed - Not Implemented
The Clean Air Act now requires that EPA receive early notification about the use of existing chemicals in significant new ways as substitutes for ozone-depleting chemicals. EPA regulations are scheduled to be proposed in the winter of 1991-1992.

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