A federal database tracking pollution in the United States was retired earlier this month, drawing criticism from environmental advocates.
TOXMAP, an interactive map hosted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and accessible to the public, allowed users to track pollution-producing factories and other environmental concerns such as superfund cleanup sites.
However, on Dec. 16, all links to the application on the NLM's website were deprecated, following an announcement from the agency in September notifying users that the site would be "retired."
"On December 16, 2019, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXNET (TOXicology Data NETwork) website will be retired," read the NLM's statement at the time. "Most content will remain available through other NLM databases as well as from external websites."
"Several resources in TOXNET came from other organizations, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and will continue to be available from those sources," it continued. "Some databases will be retired."
Claudia Persico, an assistant professor at American University specializing in public administration and environmental policy, told Undark.org that the site's deprecation was a blow to researchers.
"I think it’s really sad that they’re getting rid of this," she said. "It was stunning to me that the National Library of Medicine is actually retiring this pretty essential tool for our environmental right-to-know.”