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Tools to Help Understand and Use Environmental Data

This page includes links to technical computer programs, manuals and case studies that may help community members evaluate and better understand their local environment.

  • Community Air Screening How-to Manual
    OPPT's Community Community Air Screening How-to Manual makes air quality assessment tools more accessible to communities. The How-to Manual presents and explains a step-by-step process that a community can follow to form partnerships to access technical expertise, identify and inventory local sources of air pollutants, review pollutant sources to identify known hazards that may present a potential health risk to the community and set priorities and develop plans for improvement.

  • Aquatox
    A computer program to perform ecological risk assessment modeling developed to project the combined environmental fate and effects of pollutants in aquatic ecosystems.

  • The Baltimore Case Study
    The Baltimore Case Study report describes the work and results of a 3-year air screening pilot project in Baltimore, Maryland. It illustrates the development and implementation of a new methodology for evaluating air quality impacts of toxic air pollutant emissions. The risk screening methodology applied during this study allowed the partnership to evaluate potential human health risks from more than 175 chemicals emitted to the air by more than 125 facilities in and around the partnership neighborhoods. The case study presents the process used as well as the results and lessons learned from the experience.

  • Assess Cancer-Causing Potential of Chemicals through OncoLogic™
    The Cancer Expert System, or Oncologic, is a personal computer program developed to analyze chemical structures to determine the likelihood that they may cause cancer.

  • Chemical Screening Tool for Exposures and Environmental Releases (ChemSTEER)
    ChemSTEER is a personal computer-based software program. ChemSTEER uses established EPA methods to generate screening-level estimates of environmental releases of and worker exposures to chemicals manufactured and used in industrial and commercial operations. The tool also contains data and estimation methods to assess situations involving many common industrial / commercial sectors (e.g., automotive refinishing) and chemical functional uses (e.g., surfactant in hard surface cleaner). ChemSTEER is currently applied in EPA's New Chemicals Program. In the future, engineers and technical users may find the tool helpful in assessing exposures and releases from workplaces.

  • The Exposure & Fate Assessment Screening Tool (E-FAST)
    E-FAST is a personal computer based software program. It is a screening level tool that estimates human exposure as well as aquatic ecosystem exposure to and risk from the release of chemicals to the environment.

    E-FAST can be used by community groups to estimate exposure and risk from such areas as industrial/commercial activities and the use and disposal of consumer products.

  • Internet Geographical Exposure Modeling System/Chemical Safety Mapper (IGEMS/CSM)
    The new GEMS is a modernization of OPPT's older Graphical Exposure Modeling System and PCGEMS tools. GEMS brings together in one system several EPA environmental fate and transport models and the environmental data needed to run them. GEMS includes models and data for ambient air, surface water, soil, and ground water, and makes the models much easier to use than their stand-alone counterparts.

    The GEMS models estimate environmental concentrations that can be used by communities or environmental groups in exposure and risk assessments for local populations.

  • Risk Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI)
    The RSEI model is a personal computer-based, priority setting, screening-level tool that evaluates the hazard and relative risk-related impacts of toxic chemical releases and transfers from industrial facilities. RSEI integrates information on the amount of chemicals released to the environment, the relative long-term toxicity of these chemicals to people outside the workplace, the degree to which people are potentially exposed, and the estimated size of the exposed population.

    Communities can use RSEI, in a comparative fashion, to quickly focus on certain sources of risk that warrant further investigation. The model's pounds-based, hazard-based and risk-related perspectives can be used to examine trends, to rank and prioritize chemicals and industry sectors for strategic planning, to conduct risk-related targeting, and to help investigate environmental justice issues.

  • Use Cluster Scoring System
    A computer-based, priority-setting, risk-screening system with information about nearly 3,200 chemicals and the 380 clusters -- or families -- into which these chemicals are grouped.

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