DESCRIPTION A compilation of environmental hot spots.
TARGET AUDIENCE Adolescents to adults
BOTTOM LINE Think you’re in a safe place? Check it out.
Your home and workplace may seem safe, but are there things surrounding them that could be harmful to your health or safety? Plotscan is a website that provides interactive maps of earthquakes, sinkholes, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes, nuclear reactors and toxic releases.
Enter an address and, by default, you will see a history of the number of “events” that have occurred within a five-mile radius of the location. A circle with a number indicates there have been multiple events at one site (most common for “toxic releases”). By changing the parameters of the left-hand sidebar, you can narrow the type of events or time span or change the radius from one to 20 miles. The sidebar also has keys to the icons on the map. Click a map symbol to open a window for a description of the event. For toxic events, you’ll see the exact address where it occurred, the name of the facility, its parent company, the chemical released and how much was released. A box also describes, in detail, the hazards of the chemical. You also can search for events by topic, by clicking the names of events across the top of the page.
Some gripes: All toxic events we checked seem to have 2013 as a date. And though the site claims to be global, foreign destinations give limited results. Results for hurricanes and blizzards would also be pertinent and useful.