Lynn L. Bergeson, “Government Accountability Office Attacks EPA Program,” Chemical Processing, May 2013.
On April 29, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) titled “Toxic Substances: EPA has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals but Could Strengthen Its Approach.” The report is available at www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-249. The GAO has long faulted the EPA’s chemicals management program. In 2005, GAO reported that the EPA failed to use its Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority to obtain information submitted by U.S. companies to foreign governments, and recommended that the EPA promulgate a rule requiring that companies provide the agency with copies of any health and safety studies and other information concerning the environmental and health effects of chemicals submitted to foreign governments. The EPA acted on some of the GAO’s recommendations, but hasn’t fully implemented them. GAO for this and other reasons, in 2009, added EPA’s processes for assessing and controlling toxic chemicals to its list of programs at high risk of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement. The GAO updated this list in February 2013 and the EPA still is considered high risk.