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MyEnvironment is an application built by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to help the public get a sense of environmental indicators in their neighborhood. By keying in a geography, the application comes back with information about the local land, air and water. It mines mostly EPA but also other federal Agency databases. The latest enhancement was the addition of environmental shout outs. Within the context of MyEnvironment - shout outs are a means of crowdsourcing inspirational environmental activities that are happening at the neighborhood-level. The intention is that as people are learning about air and water quality in their neighborhood, they can simultaneously learn about what their neighbors are up with regard to river cleanups, e-cycling efforts and other good-for-the-environment activities.
MyEnvironment receives over one million hits a month and over 100,000 pageviews are downloaded in that same time. The predecessor tool to MyEnvironment is Window to My Environment.
Environmental Information in MyEnvironment
Radon can be found all over the US. Inhaling high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. MyEnvironment features county-level maps of radon levels so that citizens can be proactive about protecting themselves from this naturally occurring hazard.
- Air quality
There are geographic patterns to air quality problems and MyEnvironment provides a map so that citizens can see what their relative exposure may be especially as they live near major traffic areas, near regulated facilities, or in proximity to confined animal feeding operations. The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the national air quality.
Good water quality is a key concern of the EPA. The Clean Water Act is the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States. Understanding the complexities of what can be found in your local stream and how that may impact your health or quality of life is an area of extensive research. MyEnvironment offers the basics of drilling into STORET (one of the EPA's main water monitoring databases) to reveal some of the parameters that may have been sampled for in your local area waters and whether it was found to be present. After that, you'll need to read about that "indicator" to understand whether it is a cause for concern to your immediate health and how you may protect yourself.
EPA and others rely on the study of ecological indicators as a means of understanding when our environmental health or that of our surroundings may be in jeopardy. MyEnvironment links to only a small subset of these research documents that describe the findings about indicators across the country.
- Regulated Facilities (Facility Registry System from Envirofacts)
EPA collects information from each state about all facilities that either store, handle or emit pollutants to land, air or water. EPA stores the locational information about these regulated facilities in a database called the Facility Registry System. MyEnvironment features these facility locations in its central mapper. As for more in-depth information about which chemicals these facilities are permitted to store/handle/release or other data, MyEnvironment relies on another EPA core database called Envirofacts. Envirofacts is a system that was developed to support many of the Agency's public access applications that support public inquery about chemical release, permitting and other facility-specific information beyond the simple location of those facilities.
- Ultraviolet Index (UV index)
Knowing the daily UV index forecasted for your area can help you protect yourself from the sun by bringing a hat, wearing sunscreen or staying indoors. MyEnvironment provides the results of this popular web service.
- Cancer Risk to Air Toxics
EPA, as part of the NATA study, calculates the potential cancer risk to air toxics (cancer from exposure over a lifetime to air pollutants) for each census tract (and finer). MyEnvironment delivers visuals of these risks in the MyHealth accordion.
Infant mortality is often used as an indicator of the health and well-being of a nation. MyEnvironment drills into a Department of Health and Human Services HRSA web service to provide infant mortality statistics at the county-level.
Low birth weight rates by county are also available via MyEnvironment thanks to another Department of Health and Human Services web service.
- Environmental Shout outs
- Permit Information for Facilities that Discharge to Water