Chemical Danger Database: Great Resource Available for All
Millions of workers, both nationwide and in Texas, are often required to work around potentially dangerous chemicals daily. Some are dangerous in the short term, while many others have much more subtle, long-term effects. Yet, many whom work around chemicals every day have no idea of the hazards, and their employers often don’t advise them of the dangers. In some cases, employers use dangerous chemicals because they don’t realize there are safer alternatives on the market.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently launched a tool that anyone can use to understand the potential dangers of chemicals, including their environmental and health effects, and to discover other chemicals that may do the same job, but which are safer.
ChemView, which the EPA launched on Sept. 9, provides the public with access to regulatory information for specific chemicals. The database was developed using data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act. In addition to telling you about specific chemicals and the hazards associated with their use, it also displays potentially safer chemicals. The website allows those interested to search by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, but they can also search according to intended use, hazard effect, or regulatory action. The site also links to information on the manufacturing and processing of the chemical or product, as well as all release data that has been reported to the EPA under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule and the Toxics Release Inventory.
The EPA has several reasons for making this information readily available. For one thing, they hope that improved access to chemical health and safety information will make workers and their employers more aware of the health and environmental effects of these chemicals. They also hope people will be more aware of the dangers of the chemicals they use around the home. But more than that, they’re hoping that the increased availability of information will increase public dialogue and awareness, and encourage everyone to choose safer chemicals in everyday products. There is also a hope that chemical manufacturers will be encouraged to use safer chemicals as ingredients in their products.
The ChemView database will be updated continuously, with the EPA adding chemicals to the mix, as well as greater functionality and more links to information about each.