Thursday, June 2, 2011

Inspector General Faults USEPA for Inaction on Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals, Recommends Fixes

The Office of Inspector General (IG) at the USEPA has issued a report on EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening Progam (EDSP), and the results are not good.  Fourteen years after it was mandated in the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), "EPA's EDSP has not determined whether any chemical is a potential endocrine disruptor."  In fact, according to the IG report, "EDSP has not developed a management plan..., or established outcome performance measures to track program results."

In addition, EDSP has "missed milestones for assay validation and chemical selection established by the 2001...NRDC...settlement agreement."  What's more, even though the EDSP noted that it "was unaware of the complexities, resources, and time needed to validate assays until years after the 2001 settlement agreement was signed," it made only rudimentary adjustments to its milestone schedule.  To the IG, the lack of management plan by EPA and the EDSP severely restricts its ability to meet the requirements of the statute.  The IG notes that the EDSP "plans to develop a management plan" but "had not done so at the time of our review."

To correct these deficiencies, the Inspector General report makes the following recommendations:
  • define and identify the universe of chemicals for screening and testing
  • develop and publish a standardized methodology for prioritizing the universe of chemicals for screening and testing
  • finalize specific Tier 1 and Tier 2 criteria to evaluate testing data
  • develop performance measures
  • develop a comprehensive management plan, and
  • hold annual program reviews.
EPA responded to the IG's report but the IG felt the response was inadequate for some of the recommendations.  They consider the first three and last of the six recommendations "unresolved."

Clearly more effort on the part of EPA, and of Congress to provide funding to EPA so they can do what Congress has mandated, is necessary.

The Inspector General's report, 11-P-0215, can be downloaded as a PDF here.

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