Archive for the ‘TOXNET and Beyond’ Category
The first Earth Day was in 1970, the same year that the EPA was signed into law. Of the many databases offered by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXNET® is a suite of databases that cover toxicology data, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.
What is TOXNET? A Little History.
The Toxicology Information Program (TIP) was established in 1967 at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in response to recommendations made in the 1966 report “Handling of Toxicological Information,” prepared by the President’s Science Advisory Committee.
The objectives of TIP were to: (1) create automated toxicology data banks, and (2) provide toxicology information and data services. In the mid-1990’s, the mission of TIP was expanded to include environmental health and thus the Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) evolved.
TEHIP is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web.
The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) offers online training about the TOXNET databases called Discovering TOXNET. One of the databases included in TOXNET is the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). TRI data is collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What is TRI?
TRI tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. TRI includes data about chemical releases, waste transfers, recycling and pollution prevention. TRI includes information that can help you learn about toxic chemical releases from certain facilities in your neighborhood.
Why was TRI created?
In December of 1984 there was a massive toxic gas release in Bhopal, India from a U.S. owned company. Thousands of people died on that day and thousands of deaths (approximately 8000) have been attributed to that accident. Later that same year, in West Virginia, there was another chemical release. While the W.V. release was on a much smaller scale than the release in India, people across the U.S. began to ask questions about preparedness and information about toxic releases from facilities in their towns.
How can TRI Help Communities?
- TRI can identify which chemicals are released by TRI facilities
- TRI can track increases and reductions of toxic chemical releases
What is a TRI Facility?
TRI facilities include manufacturing, coal/oil electricity generation, mining facilities, hazardous waste management and federal facilities. Companies in these industries must report their use of a TRI chemical if they manufacture, process or use more than a certain amount of a TRI chemical per year.
What is a TRI Chemical?
In general chemicals covered by the TRI Program are those that cause one or more of the following:
- Cancer or other chronic human health effects
- Significant adverse acute human health effects
- Significant adverse environmental effects
The TRI Program currently covers 682 chemicals and chemical categories.
Read more about TRI at: http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program
NLM has updated Haz-Map with 481 new agents, including 23 agents causing occupational asthma. Fifteen new hazardous job tasks linked to jobs and industries were also added in this update. Haz-Map now covers over 9170 chemical and biological agents and 241 occupational diseases. http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/
Haz-Map is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to chemicals and biologicals at work. Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms. It currently covers over 5997 chemical and biological agents and 235 occupational diseases.
More information can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/hazmap.html
Would you like to learn more about the environmental health resources available from the National Library of Medicine? Join the NLM Training Center (NTC) from October 21 – November 5, 2013 for Module 1 a new online class, called “Discovering TOXNET: From Paracelsus to Nanotechnology.”
TOXNET is a web-based system of databases covering hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. Module 1 covers three TOXNET databases (ChemIDPlus, LactMed, and TOXLINE) as well as three emergency response tools (CHEMM, REMM, and WISER). Module 2 covers the risk assessment databases and will be offered at a later date. You’ll learn about the resources through videos, guided tutorials, discovery exercises, and solving real-life reference questions.
Who should take the class?
Health sciences librarians and health sciences professionals interested in unlocking the information in the following TOXNET and emergency response tools: ChemIDPlus, LactMed, TOXLINE, CHEMM, REMM, and WISER.
How much time?
3 hours of work on your own time followed by a 1 hour synchronous session using Adobe Connect. Participants who complete the class requirements are eligible for 4 MLA Continuing Education credits.
Asynchronous work on your own (allow 3 hours): October 21 – 31, 2013
Synchronous Adobe Connect session: November 5, 2013, 1 pm ET (12 pm CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT)
How to Register?
Enrollment is limited, so register soon! Visit: http://nnlm.gov/ntcc/classes/schedule.html
An updated version of TOXNET (TOXicology Data NETwork) will be released in 2014.
The new design will offer seamless navigation for non-professionals as well as professionals. The update will include a more current look and feel, improved interactive capabilities and a better integrated “All Search Results.”
TOXNET is a group of databases covering toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health and related areas. The Web interface provides an easy way to search databases of varying formats and content. It can be used to locate toxicology data, literature references, and toxics release information on particular chemicals, as well as to identify chemicals that cause specific effects.
TOXNET was originally designed and developed prior to the Internet, primarily for a professional audience. It has become increasingly important for its data to be accessible for a wide variety of users, many of whom are not professionals in the toxicological fields, and who are not familiar with the related vocabulary and acronyms.
Take a moment and think what it would look like to achieve world peace. Now, think about what it would look like to see air pollution trends in your neighborhood. Thinking about world peace might lower your blood pressure, where as thinking about air pollution…well, need I say more?
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) recently announced the release of the Toxic Trends web application. ECOS is a national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders. The interactive Toxic Trends map visually represents industrial air pollution information and relative risk scores to inhabitants across the United States. The application uses data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) database and other EPA sources. Toxic Trends provides public access to toxic pollution data from environmental releases of medium to large pollution sources like local refineries and aluminum smelters.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides access to TRI data via the TOXNET suite of databases at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/
Toxic Trends can be found at: http://toxictrends.org
One year after the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, the agency started a photo project called Documerica that ran from 1971 to 1977. The EPA hired freelance photographers to take pictures relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the 1970s to create a baseline.
Over 15,000 images can be viewed online and downloaded without any copyright restrictions (taxpayers own the photos).
Here is the link to the EPA Documerica site:
Rachel Carson is considered to be the mother of the modern day environmental movement going back to the 1960s, which lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970. The EPA is the keeper of much of the data found in TOXNET databases such as IRIS, TRI and TOXMAP. For the past 7 years or so, the EPA has sponsored a contest in Carson’s honor; the Sense of Wonder Contest.
Visit the EPA’s website to read about the contest:
On November 8, 2012, the EPA and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) presented a webinar for community grassroots groups and others who serve as community leaders about how to access and use EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory data.
You may now view the video recording of this webinar online.
You can access this archive of the 2012 TRI Fall Webinar, “Introduction to the Toxics Release Inventory for Communities”, by browsing to the following address: http://www.chemicalright2know.org/2012-webinars/tri-communities-webinar/
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) released a refreshed home page on Monday, January 7, 2013. The new design includes a carousel highlighting SIS resources. All functions will remain the same.
SIS produces information resources on a range of topics covering toxicology, environmental health, HIV/AIDS, drug and consumer product information, and disaster/emergency preparedness and response. View the new home page at: http://sis.nlm.nih.gov