US grant free access to toxic chemicals list

Officials in America are giving the public free access to information about thousands of toxic chemicals for the first time.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will provide web access free of charge to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory in a bid to boost transparency.

Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Prevention, said: "The American people are entitled to 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."

Some 84,000 chemicals manufactured, used or imported in the United States are listed on the TCSA inventory.

But the EPA is not able to publicly identify almost 17,000 because manufacturers have claimed them as confidential business information under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Now, it wants to reduce these claims on the identity of chemicals as part of efforts led by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to increase public information on chemicals.

Until now the inventory has only been available to buy from the National Technical Reports Library or other databases.

Now it is to be made freely accessible on the EPA's website and on - a website developed by the Obama administration to give public access to important government information.

Supporters are hailing the decision announced last Monday (March 15) as another step towards boosting the transparency of chemical information as the drive continues for legislative reform of the 30 year old TSCA law.

The EPA says in coming months it will be taking "further steps to increase transparency and make more information available to the public."

For access to the full TSCA Inventory click here.

David Gibbs


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