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Web Site Has List of Toxic Sites in New York

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – New Yorkers now have a comprehensive internet tool to find out if toxic pollution is lurking where they live. The Citizens Environmental Coalition has launched a new web site that provides maps and details on thousands of contaminated sites across the state.

In the past, New Yorkers either needed to be scientists or detectives to find out about potential environmental threats. Information was available largely piecemeal, from a variety of government and environmental sources.

Now, peace of mind, or a call to action is just a click away. Bobbi Chase is co-director of the Citizens' Environmental Coalition. She says the new web site is an unprecedented tool.

"It allows users to use interactive maps to zoom into their communities to see the cumulative picture of environmental contamination in their area," Chase said. "They can click on individual sites and get individual information about each of the sites. And they can also use text based pages to get information about the kinds of hazards, and also advocacy tips so they can take action to protect themselves and their loved ones."

The web site identifies Superfund toxic waste sites, including more than one hundred in Western New York. But Chase says people may be surprised at what else they find.

"They include things like auto body shops, gas stations, places where contamination can be ocuring, but it's being used in an active, ongoing way," said Chase. "And people really may not understand that's something that they should be looking at and considering when they're looking at what the overall contamination might be."

New York's top pollution hazards can be located online at www.ecothreatny.org.