The exact ingredients of the chemical mixture being sprayed on and pumped into the spreading BP oil spill are secret, even though some are rated toxic and may endanger the health of Gulf residents and ecosystems.
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US EPA's "National Priorities List" includes about 1,280 of the nation's worst sites. But there are tens of thousands of sites not on the NPL, and finding them is fairly easy.
Sixteen chemicals may be added to the TRI, after nearly a decade of erosion under the Bush administration.
Sixty-two U.S. urban areas are threatened by hazardous rail cargoes, but federal agencies still refuse to let many firefighters, governments, and citizens know the rail routes used to transport cargoes that could kill tens or hundreds of thousands.
Environmental reporters covering health risks from chemical exposure have another searchable, free tool in the Health & Environmental Research Online database, which catalogs scientific articles and studies the agency uses to make its decisions based on risk to health and environment.
Search and sort 84,000 selected chemicals manufactured, used, or imported into the US — minus 17,000 still hidden from the public due to claims of business confidentiality.
But the list — the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory — is still minus some 17,000 chemicals that manufacturers allege are trade secrets.
The plants, ranging from very large to very small, are now using chemicals and processes such as liquid chlorine bleach, calcium hypochlorite, or ultraviolet light — allegedly making ~40 million people living nearby safer.
Do commercial products we have body contact with contain toxic chemicals? In too many cases, states and environmentalists are saying, the federal government forbids consumers from knowing.
A former Occupational Safety and Health Administration official requested the data under the Freedom of Information Act in 2005, but was denied. He sued, won in 2007, and now has the data, but OSHA has still not released the data to the public.