Issue Date: June 15, 2009
EPA Needs Power To Obtain Biomonitoring Data
EPA should have the legal authority to compel chemical manufacturers to conduct biomonitoring studies, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released last week. Biomonitoring involves the analysis of people's blood or urine for the presence of industrial chemicals. GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, recommends that EPA determine whether it already has the authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to force companies to conduct biomonitoring research on their products. If EPA lacks such legal power, the agency should ask Congress to amend TSCA to provide that authority, the report (GAO-09-353) says. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) says a TSCA reform bill he plans to introduce later this year would explicitly give EPA the authority to require companies to carry out biomonitoring studies. In addition, GAO says, EPA needs to expand the use of biomonitoring data in assessments of chemicals' risks. The agency has made only limited use of biomonitoring data in risk assessments, GAO adds, because such information is available for fewer than 150 chemicals and these data indicate neither the source of exposure nor a substance's effect on human health.
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