The U.S. EPA last week celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). Web site
The authorization of EPCRA in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan closely followed one of the worst industrial disasters in history. In December 1984, in Bhopal, India, water leaked into a tank of methyl isocyanate, catalyzing an exothermic reaction that resulted in the release of toxic gas which immediately killed over 2,000 people, and within weeks had reportedly caused the death of about 10,000 from gas-related disease.
EPCRA was designed to provide U.S. citizens access to information regarding hazardous chemicals being used in their communities. Under EPCRA, facilities that use hazardous chemicals must provide State and local officials, as well as local fire departments, with Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) describing the hazardous chemicals in use. State and local governments work together to prepare and maintain annually the “chemical emergency response plans” required under the Act.
The EPA has made available a timeline of important events in the history of EPCRA
on its website.