In light of the horror in Japan and the ensuing nuclear emergency that continues plague the country, I think it’s a good time to talk about environmental toxins and how to access data what might be going on in your community.
Our clients often want data on crime, schools etc.. but I wonder if events such as the BP disaster in the Gulf and the potential for radiation exposure globally might prompt consumers to take a better look at what might be lurking in and around their communities. There are several different sites that can provide comprehensive information.
NETR Online – this one is really cool. It sources from at least a dozen databases and maps out everything from underground storage tanks to old brown fields and companies that may either store or have access to pollutants. You can search by address, city, and even land marks. Once you enter your search parameter, a map will pop up with colored dots. If you click on the dots, it will tell you exactly what that is and the source of reporting. It doesn’t offer any kind of interpretation of the data in terms of health risks. You can register for free on the site and even create a pdf report to pass long to your clients should they request it.
ScoreCard – Albeit it’s a little depressing but really informative. It looks at things like water and air quality and gives comparisons to how your community measures up nationally. I had a look at where they gather their data and most comes from EPA reports as well as census data. This does offer some interpretation of what the scores mean in terms of impact on health and environmental impact. It even provides data on impaired watersheds by state, state’s with high levels of animal waste(industrial farming), and a national map of air particulate levels.
I am a firm believer that knowledge is power and that being the “source of the source” is a an integral part of the service that we offer as Realtors. Hopefully these will put you in a position of providing even more in depth information for consumers as they consider some of the most important investments they will make in their lifetimes.