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EPA Provides Access to Some Chemical Studies
by Lourdes Salvador
As part of Administrator Lisa P. Jackson´s promise to enhance the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency´s chemical management program and increase transparency, the EPA has announced a new web-based tool which they claim will enable the public to search for and have easy access to health and safety studies on industrial chemicals.
The website allows users to conduct a chemical-specific search for health and safety studies, though the studies available are only those which have been submitted to the EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The TSCA only requires submission of a study when it shows there may be a substantial risk or when chemical testing is required. However, many chemicals remain untested and the system relies on the honesty of researchers and those they work for to report potential risks at a financial loss.
A recent EPA press release says, "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.
The EPA says that the new 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."
More about the new web tool:
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