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GAO Reviews EPA’s IRIS Assessment Efforts and Implementation of TSCA Reforms
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By Lynn L. Bergeson, Charles M. Auer, Oscar Hernandez, Ph.D., Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., and Carla N. Hutton

On March 4, 2019, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report titled Chemical Assessments:  Status of EPA’s Efforts to Produce Assessments and Implement the Toxic Substances Control Act.  The report describes the extent to which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program has addressed identified challenges and made progress toward producing chemical assessments; and assesses whether EPA has demonstrated progress implementing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  GAO reviewed documents from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and EPA and interviewed EPA officials and representatives from two environmental and two industry stakeholder organizations.  GAO found that while EPA made improvements in the IRIS Program, between June and December 2018, EPA leadership directed the Program to stop the assessment process during discussions about program priorities.  GAO states that while EPA has responded to initial statutory deadlines in TSCA, as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (Lautenberg Act), challenges remain.  Read the full memorandum for more information on the report including why GAO did the study, GAO’s findings, and an insightful commentary.