US opens free public access to chemicals inventory data

15 March 2010 19:44  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday opted to provide free public access to chemical substance profiles that previously were available but required purchase.

The agency said it would provide free public access on the internet to the inventory of chemicals reported to the EPA by US producers and importers under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The TSCA inventory list contains 84,000 substances that are either manufactured, used or imported in the US, although industry officials contend that most of those chemicals listed are no longer in commercial use.

The agency said the TSCA inventory list will be immediately available for free public access on an EPA website and on a more general site, Data.gov, established by the White House for important government information.

Previously, the TSCA chemicals inventory data only was available for purchase through a federal library or other science databases.

In addition, EPA said that in coming months it would provide free public access to chemical facility information available through TSCA and to a separate list of chemicals maintained in the Facility Registry System.

The agency said the combination of the TSCA facility data and the chemical databases in the Facility Registry System will allow the general public to compile detailed information about local facilities and the industrial chemicals they produce or use.

Free public access to TSCA data comes as Congress is debating how to reform and modernise the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Broader availability of the TSCA inventory data also may have bearing on pending discussions in Congress on how to extend and expand the existing federal mandate over antiterrorism security at high-risk chemical facilities.

US chemical industry officials were not immediately available for comment on the EPA disclosure action.

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By: Joe Kamalick
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