Chemicals in communities


Community Right-to-Know has been an important aspect of pollution prevention since 1986 when Congress passed the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) as a part of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA). EPCRA establishes a database framework so that local governments can develop chemical emergency response programs. In part, Community Right-to-Know informs the public of chemical releases to air, water and land by reporting facilities in their communities.

This information encourages pollution prevention planning so that opportunities to reduce or eliminate pollution at its source are recognized. It plays a significant and widespread role to help reporting facilities, state and local environmental agencies and communities develop a broad perspective on chemical hazards and opportunities to reduce them for the benefit of all concerned.

Public data and evaluation

CommunitiesWhat's In My Neighborhood
Visitors can use MPCA's interactive map or a text-based search to locate sites or properties that have been investigated and/or cleaned up through MPCA programs.

Toxic Release Inventory
Homeland Security and Emergency Management's searchable database includes annual chemical release and management data from reporting facilities back to 1988. Search the database by chemical or Minnesota facility, city or county.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. EPA TRI Explorer database allows for similar searches as the Minnesota ERC database. Searchable by zip code, state, or all of the United States.

Chemicals and toxicity

Minnesota Department of Health: Air Quality and Health Risk Values
This site features information about the Department of Health's efforts to improve Minnesota's air quality, including their development of Health Risk Values (HRVs), which are used to assist in the assessment of potential health risks associated with chemicals in ambient air. HRVs can be used for assessing risks in the environmental review process, issuing air permits, risk assessments and other site-specific assessments.

U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
ToxFAQs™ contains summaries for over 150 hazardous substances found at hazardous waste sites, including information about exposure and health concerns regarding these chemicals.

Material Safety Data Sheets
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are required to identify the toxic chemicals used in products, thereby informing users of potential risk. Maintained by the University of Kentucky, this site briefly describes the MSDS and provides web links to searchable databases.

University of Minnesota Extension Service: Pesticide Safety
Extension's site serves as a gateway to a broad collection of resources on pesticides. Links to general information, as well as details about pesticides' health and toxicity characteristics and how they are regulated.

Resources for businesses

Minnesota Guide to Pollution Prevention Planning
The P2 Guide (1999) was developed to help facilities comply with the Minnesota Toxic Pollution Prevention Act. The guide includes background on the concepts and benefits of pollution prevention, as well as step-by-step guidance for developing a facility pollution prevention plan.

Minnesota's Pollution Prevention Fees
The Minnesota Toxic Pollution Prevention Act (TPPA) requires the payment of pollution prevention fees on January 1 of each year. The fees support prevention assistance activities in the state: the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), grants, workshops, conferences and educational materials.