Eugene Toxics Right to Know Program

All communities have a fundamental right to know the quality of their neighborhood’s air and water. Toxics Right to Know is a basic tenet of environmental justice.



The Eugene Toxics Right-to-Know Reporting Program (Eugene RTK) is a powerful tool for the public benefit of gathering environmental data and increasing understanding of the factors that contribute to human health and a healthy environment. The program provides the accurate emissions reporting of local industrial polluters. The Eugene RTK was created in 1996 by founders of Beyond Toxics as a voter-approved amendment to the Eugene Charter. The program requires industrial facilities that emit 2,000 or greater of federally listed hazardous substances to provide information to the public concerning the use and disposition of each toxic chemical. Unique to Eugene’s RTK program is the requirement for materials balance accounting. That means a manufacturer must report inputs and outputs in eleven categories, such that total inputs and total outputs are equivalent within the smallest accounting unit used by the program. Polluters report hazardous substances at any annual amount equivalent or greater than 2.2 pounds; for extremely hazardous substances, the reporting threshold is 0.022 pounds.

In the United States, only the state of Massachusetts and the state of New Jersey have similar reporting requirements; no other municipality does.

~ Eugene Toxics Right-to-Know Reporting Program Overview

The public interface of the Eugene Toxics Right-to-Know Reporting Program is an online searchable database. The public can use Eugene Toxics Reporting Program to search by chemical or by polluter to learn about their local environment and to participate in environmental decision-making. In essence, the Eugene Toxics Reporting Program helps give citizens the tools to improve environmental awareness, encouraging them to become involved in the civic duty of protecting environmental health in partnership with local government. Furthermore, accurate and detailed information can help businesses set goals to reduce toxic chemicals and increase efficiency at the same time, leading to an increased profit and public good will.

The Benefits of Toxics Right to Know Programs:

  • State and federal agencies do not currently collect detailed air and water emissions data. They also do not make pollution data available to the public without any barriers. Eugene RTK fills this gap by providing public access to accurate data needed to protect local air and water and improve public health.

  • Eugene’s RTK provides for a basic tenet of Environmental Justice by giving the public user-friendly online access to toxics reporting data. The website is available 24-7, which removes the barrier of communities being forced to file an official public records request. This is a tremendous benefit to vulnerable neighborhoods when they are empowered with “data equity” and are better equipped to participate in decisions about the health and well-being of their communities. Local community-based environmental health advocates use the data to inform themselves and local decision-makers about potential risks to public health. Detailed, accurate toxic pollution data can be used to map toxics hot spots, calculate cumulative exposures and correlate pollution data with environmental health patterns.