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In 1986 in response to a series of major chemical releases the United States government passed legislation called the Superfund Amendment and Preauthorization Act Title III, now known as Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).
Provisions of this law included facilities who have on site hazardous materials (10,000 lbs. and above) or extremely hazardous substances (500 lbs. or less depending on their TPQ in the Title III List of Lists) are required to report these products to their local fire department, the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC).
Within this provision these reports also become a matter of public record thereby allowing citizens who lived near facilities with chemicals to be aware of any potential risk and develop an awareness of what they may do in the event of a chemical release.