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Archive for the ‘TOXNET and Beyond’ Category

Green Chemistry

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

From the EPA’s website:

Green chemistry consists of environmentally friendly, sustainable chemicals and processes whose use results in reduced waste, safer outputs, and reduced or eliminated pollution and environmental damage. Green chemistry encourages innovation and promotes the creation of products that are both environmentally and economically sustainable.

Introduction to the Concept Of Green Chemistry

If you happen to be in EPA Region 7

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

From: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Daily Digest Bulletin

National “Documerica” Environmental Photo Exhibit Comes to National Archives at Kansas City

The National Archives at Kansas City, in cooperation with EPA Region 7, will open EPA’s “Documerica” exhibit of photographs depicting environmental conditions of the past and present beginning May 16, 2012. The display’s visit to Kansas City is the seventh stop in a national tour and will be open through May 31, 2012.

From its development in 1971, “Documerica” became the United States’ first serious pictorial examination of the environment. The project collected more than 15,000 images, documenting the environmental and human conditions of this country when EPA was starting its mission. The idea was to visually record the difference in conditions in later years, providing the public with a measurement of progress made to accomplish goals set by Congress.

Forty years later the project was rediscovered with the help of National Archives. “State of the Environment” launched Earth Day 2011 as an opportunity for the public to participate and engage in a modern revitalization of Documerica. There are more than 1,900 new images that have been submitted to EPA through Flickr.

The EPA photo project will continue accepting submissions through the end of 2013. Public entries will be considered for a larger exhibit of both projects set for March-September 2013 at the U.S. National Archives’ Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 15 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Visit

WHERE: National Archives at Kansas City, 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo. 64108

Annual Toxics Release Inventory Conference 2012

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I recently attended the 2012 Annual Toxics Release Inventory Conference in Washington, D.C. Why, you ask, did I attend such a conference? The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is part of the TOXNET suite of databases hosted by the National Library of Medicine, and TOXNET is one of the classes that the National Library of Medicine Training Center teaches. There were approximately 260 attendees, who primarily worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), either in D.C. or in one of the ten regional offices around the country.

EPCRA, the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986, launched the creation of the Toxics Release Inventory. EPCRA was created to help communities and emergency planners prepare for situations that involve hazardous substances. TRI is the public view of the reporting required by industries that deal with any of the 682 chemicals named in EPCRA.

EPCRA has contributed to the reduction of accidents and exposures to hazardous chemicals by shining a light on what is being transported through communities. This, in turn, has led some industries to begin using less hazardous chemicals. EPCRA has been called the largest neighborhood watch program in the United States. TRI helps you identify the right questions to ask when you are concerned about your environment.

Who uses TRI data?
TRI is used by a very diverse audience that includes:
Community Planners
Fire Departments
Emergency Responders
State and local governments
Concerned Citizens
Public Health Administrators
Policy Analysts

In 2011, the EPA launched an initiative to partner with colleges and universities to encourage use and evaluation of TRI data and to work with local community groups to apply the data. One goal of this initiative is to improve reporting compliance by companies who are required to report and to promote pollution prevention. The EPA is creating a TRI Starter Kit to facilitate work in communities. This is due out in July 2012.

Just as an aside, gas mileage is the number one term entered into the EPA search box.

Additional Resources

Learn about EPCRA:
Environmental information for your area:
Search across multiple EPA databases:
Pollution in Your Community
Stewardship Action Council; a wide range of organizations committed to the responsible stewardship of earth’s resources.
Cleanups in My Community

Did you know? Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Owners or operators of facilities that have 10,000 pounds or more of materials designated in the regulations as “hazardous chemicals,” including propane, or smaller quantities1 of “highly hazardous substances,” as designated and specified in the regulations, must prepare and file annual reports with the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and affected local emergency response agencies, such as fire departments, prior to March 1 each year.

Join Us in Chicago on April 4 for TOXNET® and Beyond In-Person Class!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

There is still time to register for the TOXNET® and Beyond in-person class to be held in Chicago, IL on April 4, 2012.  This is a free class and comes with 6 MLA CE credits.

This course is designed to convey the basics of searching the NLM’s TOXNET, a Web-based system of databases in the areas of toxicology, environmental health, and related fields. The course will also teach students how to utilize NLM’s environmental health and toxicology portal which provides resources beyond the TOXNET databases. Participants will learn the content and structure of files covering toxicology data, toxicology literature, toxic releases, and chemical nomenclature. Among the databases highlighted will be TOXLINE, the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), and ChemIDplus. The course will be conducted in a computer lab and includes lectures, online demonstrations, and hands-on exercises.

Register today!

Can’t find the vital information you need all in one place?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Search for the information, build a resource, and then share it

There was yet again another interesting article in the New York Times that relates to toxicology and environment health. It seems that every day in this newspaper I read about something that relates to the subject matter of a National Library of Medicine (NLM) resource. Because I am one of quite a few trainers providing instruction on TOXNET, a suite of NLM resources covering toxicology and environmental health, I find something pertinent on a regular basis. The latest article of interest to me is in the February 2, 2012 New York Times Home Section titled “To Help Make Sure Your Home Is Healthy, an Ingredients List”.

The author, Fred A. Bernstein interviewed two architects who out of the need to be informed about building materials that are free of known and suspected carcinogens had to conduct their own research. Because they did not find the product information they needed for many of their potential building materials they ended up gathering the data and finally creating their own database. It is available to anyone at

Upon consultation with one of my colleagues at Specialized Information Services (SIS) division of NLM she suggested that two TOXNET resources would provide similar information. Haz-Map® is an occupational toxicology database and HSDB® focuses on the toxicology of potentially hazardous chemicals. All of the NLM web resources are free.

For two architects with a focused need it is amazing to me what they did out of need. I laud them for their generosity in deciding to share their efforts with everyone.

Do my socks put me at risk?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

I love my Asics Kayano socks for jogging because they are very comfortable, and moisture wicking. But really it is the color scheme that reminds me of puffins that led me to my first purchase.  As I read my newspaper this morning an article motivated me to look up the product ingredients of my beloved socks.  Just as I suspected, one of the products listed is “NanoGlidea”.

I first become aware and eventually very interested in nanotechnology several years ago because I am involved in the training of the use of the National Library of Medicine’s TOXNET – a collection of databases on hazardous chemicals, toxic releases, and environmental health.

The article I am referring to in the January 26, 2012 issue of the New York Times by Cornelia Dean tells us that an expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences says that not enough is known about the potential health and environmental risks of nanomaterials. The panel has called for more research.  What might be the motivation for concern?  Dean goes on to say that in 2009 product sales from the nanotechnology market was $225 billion.  Who was the motivator for the study? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested the National Research Council (NRC), the research arm of the National Academy of Science to convene the panel.  The report was issued by the NRC on January 25, 2012 and is available right now for $42.30 in the form of a “Prepublication PDF”

The website Nanowerk offers a fine summary of the report at:


The National Library of Medicine Training Center Needs Your Input!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) will be creating web based self-paced tutorials related to PubMed®, TOXNET®, and NCBI databases.

We need your input in order to inform topics, length, and format of the tutorials we will develop.  Please visit to complete a short questionnaire.  The questionnaire should take 10-15 minutes to complete.

Please complete the questionnaire by close of business on Friday, February 17, 2012.

Questions may be directed to Sharon Dennis, Assistant Director of the NTC, at


New Neighborhood Added to Tox Town

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Tox Town has a new neighborhood located in the U.S. Southwest. The new scene highlights locations associated with environmental health concerns impacting the Navajo and others living in the Southwest region of the United States. Visit the following link to learn about the issues addressed in the new neighborhood.

Spring Classes Open for Registration

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Registration is now open for NTC spring classes! The NTC will be teaching PubMed® for Trainers in Houston, TX; Chapel Hill, NC; and Chicago, IL. TOXNET® and Beyond will be taught in Houston and Chicago. See the NTC class schedule and register now!