Web Tool Expands Access to Info on Chemicals

(EPA) - 9/19/2013 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
   “This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The tool will make chemical information more readily available for chemical decision-makers and consumers.” 
   The ChemView web tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects. The search tool combines available TSCA information and provides streamlined access to EPA assessments, hazard characterizations, and information on safer chemical ingredients. Additionally, the new web tool allows searches by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action. 
   It has the flexibility to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals or compare multiple chemicals sorted by use, hazard effect or other criteria. The new portal will also link to information on manufacturing, processing, use, and release data reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, and the Toxics Release Inventory. In the months ahead, EPA will be continuously adding additional chemicals, functionality and links. 
   When fully updated, the web tool will contain data for thousands of chemicals. EPA has incorporated stakeholder input into the design, and welcomes feedback on the current site. By increasing health and safety information, as well as identifying safer chemical ingredients, manufacturers and retailers will have the information to better differentiate their products by using safer ingredients. 
   In 2010, EPA began a concerted effort to increase the availability of information on chemicals as part of a commitment to strengthen the existing chemicals program and improve access and usefulness of chemical data and information.
   This included improving access to the TSCA inventory, issuing new policies for the review of confidential business information claims for health and safety studies, and launching the Chemical Data Access Tool.  
   The recent launch of the ChemView provides the public with a single access point for information that has been generated on certain chemicals regulated under TSCA. View and search ChemView at:  http://www.epa.gov/chemview
Source: U.S. EPA

ACLU Lawsuit Prompts NSA Document Release

   NEW YORK (ACLU) - 9/10/2013 - The government today declassified 14 documents relating to legal violations by the NSA’s spying program. The documents were released pursuant to an agreement in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in May 2011. The ACLU’s FOIA request seeks documents related to the government’s use and interpretation of the Patriot Act’s Section 215.
   “These documents show that the NSA repeatedly violated court-imposed limits on its surveillance powers, and they confirm that the agency simply cannot be trusted with such sweeping authority,” ACLU National Security Project Staff Attorney Alex Abdo said. “The abuses revealed in these documents are alarming but also predictable. These violations are the inevitable result of allowing the NSA to assemble a vast database of sensitive information about every American. The documents provide further evidence that secret and one-sided judicial review is not an adequate check on the NSA’s surveillance practices. The so-called ‘compliance incidents’ are troubling, but this is a program that should never have been authorized to begin with. The NSA should end the bulk collection of information about Americans.”
   Yesterday in Washington, Abdo and ACLU Legislative Counsel Michelle Richardson met with members of a group appointed by the Obama administration to review surveillance policies with the stated purpose of ensuring that national security needs are properly balanced with civil liberties.
   The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s mass phone records collection program. Oral argument in the case is scheduled for November 1 in New York.
   The documents turned over today, which include opinions and orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court, were also released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation under a separate FOIA request.
   Information on the ACLU’s Section 215 FOIA lawsuit can be found at: aclu.org/national-security/section-215-patriot-act-foia
   Source: ACLU release

The Arms Debate

Not All American's Have the Right to Bear Arms

Photo by Steve Rensberry (c) 2018