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April 3, 2024

GAO Will Review EPA’s Practices for Managing and Accessing the Performance of Its New Chemicals Review Program

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided notice of disclosure on April 2, 2024, to all potentially affected businesses under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that submitted information to EPA pursuant to TSCA Section 5 that it will disclose information to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). 89 Fed. Reg 22713. According to the notice, GAO is initiating a review of EPA’s practices for managing and accessing the performance of EPA’s New Chemicals Review program under TSCA Section 5. To do so, GAO has requested access to records, data, and documents submitted to EPA pursuant to TSCA, the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), and other applicable statutes administered by EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) from October 1, 2021, through the date of the notice. EPA states that the requested information may include submissions that have been claimed as, or have been determined to be, confidential business information (CBI). EPA notes that “GAO has not indicated which or how many TSCA section 5 submissions they may need to access, but their planned review of this information will likely require the viewing and analysis of some features of unredacted submissions that have been claimed as CBI” and that GAO staff may view CBI material in TSCA Section 5 submissions incidental to their review and examination of the New Chemicals Review program. EPA also intends to disclose any information related to data systems that house new chemicals review information to assess the reliability of system data. At the conclusion of its GAO review, GAO will destroy, delete, or return to EPA all CBI-claimed documents, if applicable. More information on GAO’s February 2023 report entitled “EPA Chemical Reviews: Workforce Planning Gaps Contributed to Missed Deadlines” is available in our February 24, 2023, memorandum.