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: EPA Makes Chemical Information More Accessible, and for Free



From: Roger Greenway, ENN
Published March 16, 2010 06:23 AM

EPA Makes Chemical Information More Accessible, and for Free

The web has been a valuable source of information on the releases of toxic chemicals in 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.

US EPA 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. EPA is also making this information available on Data.Gov, a website 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 ant 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 U.S. 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 Jackson , EPA has already begun a series of  steps to provide greater transparency on chemical risk information, including an announcement in January that signaled EPA's intent to reduce a certain type of confidentiality claim, or Confidential Business Information (CBI) claim, on the identity of chemicals

In the coming months, 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 (FRS). 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.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/tsca8e/

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