Program Background

The Eugene Toxics Right-to-Know program was adopted by local voters in November 1996 as an amendment to the Eugene City Charter. It was included on the ballot via the citizen initiative process. The initiative was a response to the perception that information concerning the use of hazardous substances in the community, and in particular the releases of those substances into the local environment, was not readily accessible to citizens under existing reporting regulations.

Unlike other hazardous substance reporting programs, the Eugene Charter Amendment requires affected businesses to provide materials balance accounting, meaning that inputs and outputs of hazardous substances must be reported and must balance. These reports are required on an annual basis, and are made available, in an accessible format, at the Eugene Public Library.

Procedures are provided for the reporting (or non-reporting) of trade secret chemicals. Penalties for noncompliance are provided. Reporting businesses are audited once every three years on a random basis.

The program is governed by a seven-member board appointed by the Eugene City Council, which began meeting early in 1997. The program is supported by fees assessed to the reporting businesses and to local manufacturers meeting the employee requirement, but not meeting the usage threshold requiring materials balance reporting.

Eugene@150 Story Catchers Audio File

Listen to a historical discussion on the foundation of the Eugene Toxics Right-to-Know Program, which was part of a volunteer effort in support of Eugene celebrating 150 years.