The National Library of Medicine’s Division of Specialized Information Services has updated its interactive TOXMAP to include the most recently reported data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory and Superfund Program.

TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System that uses maps of the United States to let you visually explore information on toxic chemical releases and Superfund cleanup sites.

As the NLM explains, “Federal law requires facilities in certain industries, which manufacture, process, or use significant amounts of toxic chemicals, to report annually on their releases of these chemicals to the EPA TRI Program. Superfund sites are those throughout the United States and its territories which contain substances that are either designated as hazardous under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), or identified as such under other laws.
TOXMAP helps users create nationwide, regional, or local area maps showing where TRI chemicals are released on-site into the air, water, and ground. It also identifies the releasing facilities, color-codes release amounts for a single year or year range, and provides multi-year aggregate chemical release data and trends over time, starting with 1987. Maps can also show locations of Superfund sites on the National Priority List , listing all chemical contaminants present at these sites. Users can search the system by location (such as city, state, or ZIP code), chemical name, chemical name fragment, release medium, release amount, facility name and ID, and can filter results to those residing within a pre-defined or custom geographic region. TOXMAP also overlays map data such as US Census population information, income figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and health data from the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Health Statistics.”

For instance, a quick look at zip code 67060 will display a map of Haysville and the greater Wichita metropolitan area, informing you that as of the end of 2007 (the latest year for which complete data are available) there were 28 TRI facilities in the metroplex reporting chemical releases, out of 21,677 nationwide. It would also inform you that there are no Superfund NPL sites in the area. (There are 1,619 nationwide). Among the 28 local sites you’ll find complete reporting details for Air Products Manufacturing Corporation at 6601 South Ridge Road, Haysville. You can quickly discern that, during 2007, nearly half of the chemicals released by Air Products consisted of ammonia (70,550 pounds), and nearly another third of methanol (45,660 pounds). You can then track Air Products’ annual releases of ammonia and methanol over the past two decades, back to 1988.

Much additional detailed information is available via TOXMAP and the allied linked resources, which can be of substantial utility to those interested in tracking toxic chemical releases, assessing environmental impact, or comparing disparate local environments.

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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