Daily News Archives
Site Pinpoints Harmful Chemicals in Communities
(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2004) The National Library of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institutes of Health, announced a new interactive Web site that shows the amount and location of certain toxic chemicals released into the environment in the United States. The site, called TOXMAP, is free and no registration is required.
TOXMAP focuses on the geographic distribution of chemical releases, their relative amounts, and their trends over time. This release data comes from industrial facilities around the United States, as reported annually to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). TOXMAP also links to NLM's collection of toxicology and environmental health references, as well as to data on hazardous chemical substances in its TOXNET databases (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/). There are also fact sheets and summaries about the various chemicals, written by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
For example, a family moving to a new city can locate facilities releasing toxic chemicals by entering the city's name and state, generating a map of facilities in that area. For each facility, information, including location and chemicals released, is provided. Information about the health effects of the specific chemicals identified is also provided.
Dr. Jack Snyder, NLM Associate Director for Specialized Information Services, said, "The National Library of Medicine has a special mission to address toxicology and environmental health needs. TOXMAP is part of this mission, and allows us to serve the public and professionals in a unique way. This Web site allows users to explore maps of what and where chemicals are released and by whom."
The Web address for TOXMAP is http://toxmap.nlm.nih.gov
TAKE ACTION: Look up your city and find out if there are facilities releasing toxic materials near in your area. Learn more about the chemicals released by using the other TOXNET resources mentioned, and by checking out our Pesticide Factsheets.