"U.S. System for Flagging Hazardous Chemicals Is Widely Flawed"
"A 27-year-old U.S. program intended to warn the public of the presence of hazardous chemicals is flawed in many states due to scant oversight and lax reporting by plant owners, a Reuters examination finds."
"Under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, private and public facilities must issue an inventory listing potentially hazardous chemicals stored on their properties. The inventory, known as a Tier II report, is filled with state, county and local emergency-management officials. The information is then supposed to be made publicly available, to help first responders and nearby residents plan for emergencies.
But facilities across the country often misidentify these chemicals or their location, and sometimes fail to report the existence of the substances altogether.
And except for a handful of states, neither federal nor local authorities are auditing the reports for errors."
M.B. Pell, Ryan McNeill, and Selam Gebrekidan report for Reuters July 9, 2013.