Just in Time for Earth Day 2006, NLM Adds New Features to its Interactive Mapping Site, TOXMAP
Earth Day celebrates its 36th anniversary Saturday, April 22nd, and just in time for that occasion, the National Library of Medicine has spruced up its interactive mapping site, TOXMAP (http://toxmap.nlm.nih.gov). In response to feedback from users, this popular, free resource will now provide more in-depth information about chemicals that are released into the environment and their possible effects on residents' health.
TOXMAP helps users explore the geographic distribution of certain chemical releases, their relative amounts, and their trends over time. By typing in a city and state, or a zip code, the user can instantly find out what substances are being released into water, earth, and air. This release data comes from industrial facilities around the United States, as reported annually to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Now, users can also use TOXMAP to find information about Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites. The Superfund program is part of a federal effort to clean up land in the United States that has been contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/) as a candidate for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health and/or to the environment. The program was created in 1980 when Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
The substances found at Superfund sites have been designated as causing or contributing to an increase in mortality or in irreversible or incapacitating illness, or posing a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or to the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed. More than 800 substances are currently designated as hazardous under the Superfund Program, and many more as potentially hazardous.
As part of the new version, TOXMAP has also added mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.
TOXMAP continues to provide links to NLM's extensive collection of toxicology and environmental health references, as well as to a rich resource of data on hazardous chemical substances in its TOXNET databases (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/). The resource also provides fact sheets and summaries about the various chemicals, written by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and EPA progress reports on the Superfund sites.
A complete guide to NLM's environmental health resources, including the Household Products Database and Tox Town, can be found at http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro.html .