EPA Provides Public with Easier Access to Chemical Information
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, introduced a new web-based tool that will enable the public to search for and have easy access to health and safety studies on industrial chemicals. As part of administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s continued efforts to enhance EPA's chemical management program and increase transparency, the chemical data access tool allows users to conduct a chemical-specific search for health and safety studies that have been submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The tool will also be added to Data.Gov, a website developed by the Obama Administration to provide public access to important government information.
"The new tool will for the first time give the public the ability to electronically search EPA’s database of more than 10,000 health and safety documents on a wide range of chemicals that they may come into contact with every day," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This is just the latest in a series of significant steps the agency is taking to empower the public with greater access to critical information on the chemicals manufactured and used in this country.”
Under TSCA, companies are required to submit health and safety studies to the agency when they show there may be a substantial risk, when chemical testing is required, or to facilitate EPA's review of new chemicals. The public now will be able to have easy access to these studies simply by searching for the name of a chemical or for a particular word or phrase, such as a health or safety concern addressed in a study.
In addition to making the health and safety studies more accessible, EPA is taking aggressive action to reduce companies' efforts to keep the identity of the chemicals confidential when health and safety studies are submitted to the agency.