EPA Needs to Coordinate Its Research Strategy and Clarify Its Authority to Obtain Biomonitoring Data : Report to Congressional Requesters

Website or Online Data - 2009
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Biomonitoring, which measures chemicals in people's tissues or body fluids, has shown that the U.S. population is widely exposed to chemicals used in everyday products. Some of these have the potential to cause cancer or birth defects. Moreover, children may be more vulnerable to harm from these chemicals than adults. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to control chemicals that pose unreasonable health risks. GAO was asked to review the (1) extent to which EPA incorporates information from biomonitoring studies into its assessments of chemicals, (2) steps that EPA has taken to improve the usefulness of biomonitoring data, and (3) extent to which EPA has the authority under TSCA to require chemical companies to develop and submit biomonitoring data to EPA. GAO recommends that EPA develop a comprehensive research strategy to improve its ability to use biomonitoring in its risk assessments; establish an interagency task force to coordinate federal biomonitoring research; and determine the extent of its legal authority to obtain biomonitoring data under TSCA, asking Congress for more authority if necessary. EPA agreed with the first two recommendations and did not disagree with the third, but provided substantive comments on its implementation.

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