We need a better way to measure risks from toxic chemicals—and take action

*Beta version of map tool. 

Chemical risks should be assessed cumulatively

Everyone deserves to breathe clean air and live free from toxic chemical pollution.

But every day, industrial facilities across the United States expose communities to harmful chemicals that threaten people’s health.

Images of EDF's Chemical Exposure action map showing Houston, Chicago, Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas.

Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluates chemical health and safety risks by considering exposure to one chemical at a time.

But people are often exposed to multiple chemicals—from multiple sources—that can cause the same health problems. This is especially true in communities where polluting facilities are clustered together.

We need a better way to evaluate these risks—one that considers how people actually experience multiple chemicals that cause the same harms—so that chemical safety laws are truly protective of our health.

Our new map offers tools to encourage EPA to do better risk assessments of chemicals

Exposure to many chemicals causing the same or similar health harms increases the risk of serious health problems. 

We’ve focused on three major categories of health harms from exposure to these chemicals: cancer, developmental harm and asthma.

Using emissions data for 28 of EPA’s high priority toxic chemicals, this map visualizes how communities are cumulatively exposed to multiple toxic chemicals that cause the same harms, leading to serious health issues.

Use this tool to see where facilities are polluting these toxic chemicals into our air, water and land and how it’s putting our health at risk, then click through to encourage EPA to take action.

Cancer

A disease in which cells in the body grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Some toxic chemicals can cause cancer in organs like the liver and the lungs.

These toxicants can be hard to avoid, especially when they are in the air we breathe or the water we drink.

Gastrointestinal

acrylonitrile
1-bromopropane
1,2-dibromoethane
4,4′-methylene bis(2-chloroaniline) (MBOCA)

Kidney

trichloroethylene (TCE)

Liver

carbon tetrachloride
1,4-dichlorobenzene
1,2-dichloroethane
1,2-dichloropropane
di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
1,4-dioxane
4,4′-methylene bis (2-chloroaniline) (MBOCA)
methylene chloride
tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
trichloroethylene (TCE)
vinyl chloride

Leukemia

1,3-butadiene
formaldehyde

Lung

acrylonitrile
asbestos
1,2-dichloroethane
methylene chloride

Nose and Throat

acetaldehyde
formaldehyde

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

trichloroethylene (TCE)

Uterine

1,2-dichloroethane
tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA)

Spleen

benzenamine (aniline)

Brain

acrylonitrile

Asthma

Causes airways to narrow and swell and produce mucus. This makes breathing difficult and can trigger a life-threatening attack. Asthma is chronic and cannot be cured.

Four Main Chemicals Can Trigger Asthma:

acetaldehyde
1,2-dibromoethane
formaldehyde
phthalic anhydride

Developmental Harm

Pregnant women have less ability to detoxify harmful substances which can lead to developmental harms. Premature birth and low birth weight are also risks. As infants grow, their tissues develop rapidly, making them more vulnerable to toxicants in the blood, epithelium, and lungs.

Many Chemicals Can Endanger Pregnant Women and Infants:

acrylonitrile
1-bromopropane
1,3-butadiene
cyclic aliphatic bromide cluster (HBCD)
di-ethylhexyl phthalate

1,2-dibromoethane
dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
1,1-dichloroethane
1,2-dichloropropane
1,4-dioxane (DEHP)
N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP)
tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
trichloroethylene (TCE)
vinyl chloride

 

Tell EPA we urgently need rules that match the risks for toxic chemicals

Explore the map and send a localized letter to EPA, urging the agency to prioritize better regulations for exposure to toxic chemicals.

*Beta version of map tool. 

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