EPA Web Tool Addresses Chemical Safety

ChemView displays key health and safety data on more than 1,500 chemicals in an online format.
Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a new Web tool that improves access to scientific and regulatory information on chemicals.

ChemView, which is available via the EPA's website, displays key health and safety data in an online format. More specifically, the tool allows users to compare chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects. It's intended for both decision-makers and consumers.

With the Web tool, the EPA hopes to improve access to regulatory information developed by the agency and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The tool also is meant to "increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products," James Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a written statement.

ChemView's search function combines available TSCA data and other information, such as EPA assessments, hazard characterizations and facts on safer chemical ingredients. Users can search by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect or regulatory action. Additionally, users can export data for further analysis and obtain source documents, if needed.

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The EPA said the tool also will link to information on manufacturing, processing, use and release data that has been reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, as well as the Toxics Release Inventory. The EPA will continue to populate the database in the coming months, adding more chemicals, functionality and links. The goal is to expand the Web tool to include thousands of chemicals. Currently, the database contains information on more than 1,500 chemicals.

The agency launched an effort in late 2009 to make information on chemicals more easily available. Since then, it has been improving access to the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory and issuing new policies on chemical safety. In March 2010, the EPA for the first time provided free access to the TSCA inventory, which contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals. The EPA also created the Chemical Data Access Tool, intended for those who want to find health and safety data that has been submitted to the agency.

In addition to informing consumers about chemicals contained in everyday products, the EPA said manufacturers and retailers need the information to develop products with safer ingredients. The agency created a Safer Chemical Ingredients List for manufacturers in September 2012. It recently added more than 130 chemicals to the list, bringing the total to 602. ChemView complements that list and will serve as an additional resource for manufacturers.

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