The US depends heavily on right-to-know legislation, rather than direct regulation, to protect citizens against industrial toxic pollution. The right-to-know approach means that corporations are under mandate to publicly report their pollution, but after the reports are filed and published, citizens, employees, consumers, shareholders and managers are left to respond as they see fit. For the right-to-know approach to improving corporate environmental performance to have any chance of success, stakeholders must have access to the information, the ability to interpret the information, and the capacity and incentive to respond to the information. The Corporate Toxics Information Project (CTIP) adds value to data collected and processed by the EPA and presents the data in new forms useful to multiple constituencies whose actions affect public exposure to industrial toxic pollution. The Toxic 100 Air Polluters (http://toxic100.org) is an example of this data presentation.
Michael Ash is Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Chair of the Economics Department. With Professor James Boyce, he co-directs the Corporate Toxics Information Project (CTIP; http://www.peri.umass.edu/ctip_research/) at the Political Economic Research Institute.