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June 5, 2024

GAO Finds EPA Implemented Three Open Recommendations Related to Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals

On May 28, 2024, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released a report entitled Priority Open Recommendations: Environmental Protection Agency. According to the report, since GAO’s May 2023 letter, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented four of GAO’s 15 open priority recommendations, including three recommendations related to assessing and controlling toxic chemicals: GAO’s report states that in April 2023, it issued its biennial update to its...
April 3, 2024

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

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...
September 29, 2023

GAO Releases Report on Detecting, Limiting Exposure to, and Treating PFAS Contamination

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released a report on September 27, 2023, entitled “Persistent Chemicals: Detecting, Limiting Exposure To, and Treating PFAS Contamination.” According to GAO, examples of how per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) enter the environment include: GAO’s recommendations, published in earlier reports, include: GAO states that it has ongoing work examining public water systems’ implementation of PFAS treatment methods and efforts to...
June 6, 2023

GAO’s Priority Open Recommendations for EPA Include Recommendations Regarding the IRIS Program

On May 16, 2023, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released publicly a report on its priority open recommendations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). GAO’s priority recommendations include three in the area of “assessing and controlling toxic chemicals.” According to GAO, EPA’s ability to protect effectively public health and the environment depends on credible and timely assessments of the risks posed by toxic chemicals, including per- and...
May 3, 2023

GAO Recommends Actions to Improve DOD’s Ability to Prevent the Procurement of Items Containing PFAS

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on April 26, 2023, entitled “Persistent Chemicals: Actions Needed to Improve DOD’s Ability to Prevent the Procurement of Items Containing PFAS.” GAO notes that starting April 2023, the Department of Defense (DOD) was prohibited from procuring items in four categories if they contain certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a provision for GAO to...
April 27, 2023

GAO Finds Progress in EPA’s Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals

On April 20, 2023, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its updated High Risk List, which highlights 37 areas across the federal government that are vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, or that need broad reform. The High Risk List includes “Transforming EPA’s Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals.” GAO states that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to implement its mission of protecting public health and the...
April 24, 2023

GAO Science and Tech Spotlight Describes Benefits of Synthetic Biology and Challenges Ahead

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton   The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a “Science & Tech Spotlight” on synthetic biology on April 17, 2023. GAO defines synthetic biology as “a multidisciplinary field of biotechnology that involves engineering the genetic material of organisms — such as viruses, bacteria, yeast, plants, or animals — to have new characteristics.” According to GAO, scientists are currently exploring the use...
April 7, 2023

GAO Recommends Agencies Track Progress toward Federal Sustainable Aviation Fuel Goals

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton   The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released a report on March 27, 2023, entitled Sustainable Aviation Fuel: Agencies Should Track Progress toward Ambitious Federal Goals. According to GAO, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production and use in the United States have increased in recent years; this fuel is now used by airlines at two major commercial airports in California. GAO states that while U.S. production reached...
October 20, 2022

GAO Recommends EPA Use New Data to Analyze the Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Their Drinking Water

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on October 19, 2022, entitled “Persistent Chemicals: EPA Should Use New Data to Analyze the Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Their Drinking Water.” The Congressional requesters asked GAO to examine per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in drinking water and related state actions. GAO’s report examines what recent data from selected states show about the occurrence of PFAS in drinking water; the...
October 12, 2021

GAO Asks Whether Chemical Recycling Can Reduce Plastic Pollution

By Lynn L. Bergeson  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) posted a WatchBlog item entitled “Can Chemical Recycling Reduce Plastic Pollution?” on October 5, 2021. The item looks at GAO’s September 2021 Science & Tech Spotlight: Advanced Plastic Recycling. According to GAO, chemical recycling could reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills, potentially reducing the release of chemicals into the environment. Chemical recycling can produce...