Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act requires all states to establish a system of local emergency planning committees to gather data on the hazardous materials used by local manufacturers and make that information available to inquiring citizens. However, Title III does not specify how proactive states must be in disseminating information on industrial toxins, nor does it provide any federal funds for such programs. Consequently, there is tremendous variation in how individual states have responded to Title III. An unresolved empirical issue is whether states with programs that actively promote public access to information on toxic chemicals are more successful in reducing industrial toxic pollution than states without such programs. Using data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory, this study conducts a preliminary analysis of the effectiveness of the right-to-know programs in decreasing industrial toxic releases across the 50 American states. Contrary to the expectations of some pessimists, findings suggest that right-to-know programs reduce industrial toxic pollution without displacing the problem to other states.

Regulation through Information: An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of State-sponsored Right-to-know Programs on Industrial Toxic Pollution – Grant – 2005 – Review of Policy Research – Wiley Online Library