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Tox Town - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play
About Tox Town

Tox Town Fact Sheet

Tox Town is designed to give you information on:

  • everyday locations where you might find toxic chemicals
  • non-technical descriptions of chemicals
  • links to selected, authoritative chemical information on the Internet
  • how the environment can impact human health
  • Internet resources on environmental health topics

Tox Town uses color, graphics, sounds and animation to add interest to learning about connections between chemicals, the environment, and the public's health. Tox Town's target audience is students above elementary-school level, educators, and the general public. It is a companion to the extensive information in the TOXNET collection of databases that are typically used by toxicologists and health professionals.

You can explore Tox Town by selecting Neighborhoods, Location links or Chemical links.

  • The City, Town, US Border Regions, Farm or Port neighborhoods give an overview of environmental health concerns in those settings. Some concerns are repeated in every scene, like Drinking Water, but others are unique to a setting, like Brownfields in the City. To see all the environmental health concerns included in Tox Town, you will need to look at each Scene or use the Site Map.
  • Locations give selected Internet resources about a location's environment and possible effects on human health. Toxic chemicals that might be found in a location are also listed. Some buildings display an interior view.
  • Chemicals are described in non-technical language supplemented with Internet links about a chemical and its possible impact on human health.

Information on chemical and environmental concerns is from the TOXNET and MedlinePlus resources of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), as well as other authoritative sources. Selection guidelines (based on MedlinePlus) are used in evaluating links to web pages. The chemical descriptions (example - "What is arsenic?") were written for Tox Town based on TOXNET and other resources and were reviewed by NLM toxicology staff.

Tox Town links to TOXMAP, a Geographic Information System (GIS) from NLM, which uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund Program. Tox Town links to TOXMAP only for those chemicals whose releases are reported to EPA. The chemical map shown in Tox Town lists both TRI and Superfund data when available. If only Superfund data is available, then the map will only show Superfund sites. Similarly, only TRI data is shown when there is no Superfund site data.

Tox Town also offers some resources in Spanish (, and has a text version (

Chemicals included in Tox Town meet the following criteria:

  • Toxic (or perceived toxicity of interest to general public)
  • Commonly encountered in the United States
  • Known or expected to impact human health
  • Of interest to federal agencies that regulate, research, or advise on a chemical's health effects. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are examples of federal agencies concerned about toxic chemicals.

Chemicals or substances that are voluntarily ingested, such as drugs, dietary supplements, or caffeine, are not included.

Tox Town is a project of the Specialized Information Services Division of the National Library of Medicine and was launched in October, 2002. Future plans include the addition of more chemicals and the design of different types of geographic locations, such as an Arctic village and U.S. desert southwest scene.

The National Library of Medicine invites you to link from your web site to Tox Town at You may use Tox Town images for creating links from your website for training and publicity.

If you think that you have been exposed to a toxic chemical, contact your health care professional. For poisoning emergencies or questions about possible poisons, please contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 in the United States. Tox Town cannot respond to questions about individual medical cases, provide second opinions, or make specific recommendations regarding therapy. Those issues should be addressed directly with your healthcare provider. As this project is entirely U.S. federal government funded, Tox Town neither allows advertising on this site nor endorses any company or product.

Please send your comments or questions on Tox Town to

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World Wide Web Health Awards World Wide Web Health Award: Bronze

Last updated: August 2, 2007

Interactive Graphic Neighborhoods City Farm Town US Border Regions Port US Southwest