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Recently EPA released their Risk Screening Environmental Indicators data product. I have been analyzing this data as it applies to Silicon Valley and will be placing some of the results on this page in the form of charts and maps. Some of the things that I am investigating include:
  • Since the beginning of annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting in 1987, facilities have generally reported decreases in their releases of toxic chemicals to the air. When the amounts of chemicals are weighted by the chronic human health effects of the chemical (either cancer, non-cancer, or a mix of the two), does this same trend hold?
  • Given the chronic human health effects, are there specific manufacturing sectors and/or specific chemicals in Silicon Valley that should be targeted for reductions first? In other words can the risk screening environmental indicators data help show us where our efforts towards reducing the risks associated with toxics are best spent?
  • What manufacturing sectors have had increases or decreases of toxics weighted for chronic human health effects? In other words, where are the successes and failures.
  • TRI releases do not magically disappear each year. They accumulate to varying degrees (see What TRI Means... ). It makes sense to look at the accumulation of TRI releases over time from 1987 through 1997 with respect to both raw releases and releases weighted by the chronic human health effects. Note: see the Santa Cruz TRI for an example of tracking releases and transfers over time.
  • What new information does this data provide when doing environmental justice research?
  • How does the raw pounds of toxic chemicals stored onsite compare to that weighted by the chronic human health effects?

Learn more about EPA's Risk Screening Environmental Model at http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/env_ind/. I welcome any comments you might have about this research.

Michael R. Meuser

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