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Legislative findings.

The legislature finds and declares that the proliferation of hazardous substances in the environment poses a growing threat to the public health, safety, and welfare; that the constantly increasing number and variety of hazardous substances, and the many routes of exposure to them make it difficult and expensive to monitor adequately and detect any adverse health effects attributable thereto; that individuals themselves are often able to detect and thus minimize effects of exposure to hazardous substances if they are aware of the identity of the substances and the early symptoms of unsafe exposure; and that individuals have an inherent right to know the full range of the risks they face so that they can make reasoned decisions and take informed action concerning their employment and their living conditions.
The legislature further declares that local health, fire, police, safety, and other government officials require detailed information about the identity, characteristics, and quantities of hazardous substances used and stored in communities within their jurisdictions, in order to plan adequately for, and respond to, emergencies, enforce compliance with applicable laws and regulations concerning these substances, and to compile records of exposures to hazardous substances over a period of time that will facilitate the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.
The legislature further declares that the extent of the toxic contamination of the air, water, and land in this state has caused a high degree of concern among its residents and that much of this concern is needlessly aggravated by the unfamiliarity of these substances to residents.
The legislature therefore determines that while these substances have contributed to the high quality of life we enjoy in our state, it is in the public interest to establish a comprehensive program for the disclosure of information about hazardous substances in the workplace and the community, and to provide a procedure whereby residents of this state may gain access to this information.
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