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Friday, September 26, 2014

Watchdog faults EPA on failed asbestos tests

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) internal watchdog criticized it for mismanaging tests on methods for demolishing buildings with asbestos.
The EPA conducted research between 1999 and 2011 on alternatives to the federally regulated process for demolishing the buildings and allowed some tests in Fort Worth, Texas, from 2006 to 2007.
The Office of Inspector General found in a Thursday report that the EPA spent $3.5 million on the program, only to conclude that it did not work as well as the traditional methods.
The watchdog concluded that EPA officials “did not conduct the research under a controlled and defined agency process that would have ensured consensus and oversight,” disregarded guidance and allowed violations of environmental laws.
It also failed to provide good data and results from the testing and put the public at potential risk of exposure to asbestos, which is considered toxic if inhaled.
Investigators did not find any documented health problems that resulted.
The inspector general said the EPA should learn from the experience and require better oversight of research processes and costs.
In a statement, the EPA said it concurred with the report.
“EPA has made significant changes to its research planning process to require that all research includes oversight procedures and input from senior managers,” EPA spokeswoman Laura Allen said in a statement.
“In response, EPA has also taken numerous steps to ensure the...
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