The Web has been a valuable source of information on the releases of toxic chemicals our communities, and for citizens and environmental action groups to see what companies and facilities are emitting air pollutants, discharging water pollution, and generating hazardous wastes.
Finding the information you were looking for was not always easy, and not always free. Now things are getting a little easier, and more information is obtainable for free.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is providing Web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency.
The EPA is also making this information available on Data.gov, a Web site launched to provide public access to important government information.
“Increasing the public’s access to information on chemicals is one of Administrator Jackson’s top priorities,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “The American people want easily accessible information on chemicals, and today’s action is part of a series of ongoing steps that EPA is taking to empower the public with this important information.”
Until now, the consolidated public portion of the TSCA Inventory has only been available by purchase from the National Technical Reports Library or other databases. By adding the consolidated TSCA Inventory to the Agency’s website and to Data.gov, EPA is making this information readily available to the public at no cost.
Currently, there are more than 84,000 chemicals manufactured, used, or imported in the United States listed on the TSCA Inventory. However, EPA is unable to publicly identify nearly 17,000 of these chemicals because the chemicals have been claimed as confidential business information under TSCA by the manufacturers.
Under Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA has already begun a series of steps to provide greater transparency on chemical risk information, including an announcement in January that signaled the agency’s intent to reduce a certain type of confidentiality claim, or Confidential Business Information claim, on the identity of chemicals.
In the coming months, the EPA will take further steps to increase transparency and make more information available to the public, including adding TSCA facility information, and the list of chemicals manufactured to the Facility Registry System. The FRS is an integrated database that provides the public with easier access to EPA’s environmental information and better tools for cross-media environmental analysis.
The addition of TSCA facility and chemical databases to FRS will provide the public with information on the facilities in their communities using industrial chemicals.
Article appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.