New GAO Report Confirms Environmental Protection Agency Shortcomings in Protecting the Public from Dangerous Pesticides

WASHINGTON (September 9, 2013) – The federal government has fast-tracked approval of thousands of dangerous pesticides and potentially put public health at needless risk, the Government Accountability Office reported today.

The report by the investigative arm of Congress confirms earlier findings by the Natural Resources Defense Council that the Environmental Protection Agency is doing too little to protect the public from harmful pesticides.

Mae Wu, an attorney in NRDC’s Health Program, issued this statement on the GAO report:

“The GAO report makes this clear: The EPA must do more to protect the American people from dangerous pesticides. The agency’s database is so chaotic it doesn’t know how many pesticides have been rushed to the marketplace by overuse of the conditional registration process. It doesn’t keep track of toxicity data submitted by industry, or modifications for use of pesticides. EPA doesn’t even know if it’s looked at required date it has received.

“In the face of this mismanagement, the GAO rightly calls for a long overdue upgrade of EPA’s pesticide database. This is a good first step. But public health and safety would be better served if EPA immediately canceled any conditional registrations with missing toxicity data, or pesticides that are out of compliance for any reason. EPA should only conditionally register new pesticides, as the law intends, in very limited circumstances to respond to public health crises.”

Mae Wu has written a new blog about the GAO report, here:

In March 2013, NRDC released a report its two-year investigation into EPA’s conditional registration process. “Superficial Safeguards: Most Pesticides are Approved by Flawed EPA Process,” that calls for major reforms in the government’s approval process for toxic pesticides.

In addition, OnEarth Magazine, which is affiliated with NRDC, published a story this year on the issue, which can be found here:

Finally Jennifer Sass, senior scientist in NRDC’s health program, has written a blog about the issue, here: