A publicly accessible web site was developed that provides environmental information on air emissions of local facilities in 3 regions in the Netherlands. Compared with other environmental right-to-know initiatives, the main innovative aspect of this web site is the presentation of emissions data in terms of estimated increased cancer risk. The basic idea is that this type of information will help people 1) to put the health effects of air emissions of the selected facilities into perspective and 2) to form a personal opinion about the acceptability of these risks. In the 1st 5 months, the web site was visited more than 77,000 times, with more than 33,000 visits in the 1st month (March 2004). The web site triggered a discussion on the accessibility and presentation of environmental risk information in The Netherlands, which even reached the Dutch parliament. To improve and maintain this type of right-to-know initiative, it is important that 1) responsible authorities establish and maintain a detailed and up-to-date database of national, regional, and local emissions data, 2) the initiative is implemented in a legal framework or adopted by an independent body, and 3) more knowledge becomes available about the understanding and effects of environmental risk information on the general public.
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Vol. 2 • No. 4