August 1, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 14)
Strong Points: Easy access to information
Weak Points: Not comprehensive
No sooner did I write the column above complaining about the EPA’s lack of online access for information and suggesting that they model the NIH’s sites than I found the NIH’s TOXMAP site, which partially implements my suggestions. TOXMAP provides a “top-down” approach to toxic chemicals in the environment. The opening page provides a map of the U.S. on which users click to learn of toxic chemicals at that desired site. Sites can also be located by chemical name or city/state/zip. Sources of information about the chemicals are reports filed by local companies. I was aghast to discover how many pounds of chemicals were being released by relatively clean industries in my area. While TOXMAP is not a one-stop shop for information about chemicals, it does provide easy access to information about chemicals in any desired area in a much better way than EPA’s site above.