EPA’s Safer Choice Program Would Benefit from Formal Goals and Additional Oversight

Download the document from the U.S. EPA’s Office of the Inspector General.

The EPA’s Safer Choice program does not have formal goals included in the FY 2018–2022 U.S. EPA Strategic Plan, and the program has not reported results for fiscal years 2018–However, the program does have internal, non-outcome-oriented goals, which it is generally achieving. The Safer Choice program’s goal is to add 200 Safer Choice products to the program and 25 chemicals to the Safer Chemical Ingredients List each year. In FY 2019, the Agency added 265 products and 24 chemicals. By not including formal goals for the Safer Choice program in Agency reports while continuing to receive congressional funding and support, the EPA limits not only accountability to Congress and the public, but also the extent that the program can use performance management information to make policy, budget, and management
decisions.

The EPA’s Safer Choice program has general controls in place for the required Safer Choice audit process. The EPA reviews audit summaries and corrective actions provided by TPPs. However, the Agency does not routinely review all supporting documentation, relying on TPPs to review and retain these documents. Additionally, the Safer Choice program does not have procedures in place to conduct any formal performance reviews of TPPs or oversight reviews of TPP partner audits. Without periodic audit oversight, including full reviews of supporting documents and formal performance reviews of TPPs, the EPA risks approving products that do not comply with the Safer Choice Standard.

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