• Air toxics links to PDF file

    Toxic air pollutants, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are those pollutants that are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental effects. Learn more about the effects of toxic air pollutants, where they come from, what is being done to control air toxic pollutant emissions in Massachusetts, and more.
  • Asbestos

    Chances are, if you have an older home or one built before 1986 and the phase-out of asbestos as a building product it may contain asbestos in the insulation, roofing or siding. Learn what to do is your home contains asbestos, who to contact, and what the state and federal regulations are regarding handling and removal.
  • Biological threats

    Biological agents have the ability to adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from relatively mild, allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, even death. Here you'll find fact sheets and technical and regulatory information about some of the most virulent and prevalent biological agents.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA)

    Be sure to check out the Public Health Advisory regarding bisphenol A (BPA) to find out why you should avoid heating plastic containers with the recycling number 7 and the letters PC in microwave ovens, in water on the stovetop, or by adding boiling water into them, particularly when preparing infant formula.
  • Boil orders

    Boil water orders or advisories are public announcements advising the public that they should boil their tap water for drinking and other human consumption uses like cooking, hand washing, brushing teeth, etc.
  • Carbon monoxide

    Motor vehicle exhaust, smoke from fires, engine fumes, and nonelectric heaters are common sources of carbon monoxide. Learn what carbon monoxide is and where it comes from, the health effects of carbon monoxide and who is most at risk from exposure, its environmental effects and more.
  • Chemical agents

    Chemical agents are chemical compounds that have harmful effects on human health. There are a number of different types of chemical agents, and a range of uses for these compounds, from crowd control to chemical warfare. Here is a list of chemical agents by category from the Center for Disease Control, along with definitions, clinical description, lab criteria for diagnosis, and case classification.
  • Cleanup of sites and spills

    From a single leaking drum to a major industrial chemical spill, the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup has the experience, equipment and knowledge to ensure immediate and effective response to environmental emergencies, such as oil spills. The department also ensures timely assessment and cleanup of oil and hazardous waste disposal sites by parties responsible for them.
  • Collection centers for hazardous household products

    Looking for a DEP (Department of Environmental Protection)-approved collection center in Massachusetts for hazardous household products? They're listed here, along with contact information.
  • Counterterrorism (FDA)

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s regulatory oversight of human and veterinary medical products and its monitoring of the nation's food and blood supplies are central to a successful response to any naturally occurring public emergency or deliberate threat — be it chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear. Learn more here.
  • Environmental health

    A key mission of the Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH) is to protect the public from a variety of environmental exposures -- from screening, diagnosis, and treatment and prevention of lead poisoning to conducting foodborne illness complaint investigations and responding to other food emergency incidents, the BEH responds to environmental health concerns and provides communities with epidemiologic and toxicological health assessments.
  • Environmental Strike Force

    The Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force gathers evidence during undercover investigations, carefully builds cases against alleged environmental violators, then takes them to court. Find out how you can help blow the whistle on environmental crime.
  • Hazardous materials management

    Here businesses and facilities will find fact sheets, brochures, and resources to help them pick up, transport, process, and dispose of their waste or waste oil in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Also available are forms for hazardous waste reporting, a toxic use reduction application and forms and more.
  • Hazardous materials response

    The Regional Hazardous Materials Response Program is an innovative response system designed to provide specialized response of personnel and equipment to the 351 communities of the Commonwealth, to enable them to protect the public, the environment, and property during incidents involving a release or potential release of hazardous materials.
  • Hazardous waste transportation

    Most people recognize gasoline, propane, or dynamite as being hazardous materials, but did you know that common materials such as paint, nail polish remover, adhesives, cleaning compounds, hair spray, matches, and others may be classified as hazardous materials? It is important to know if you are transporting hazardous materials because violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) carry civil fines of up to $27,500 and possible criminal penalties including up to five years in jail.

  • Household hazardous wastes

    Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste or HHW. Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them. From automotive oil to pharmaceuticals and personal care products, you'll find links to websites and a wide variety of products and programs to help you manage HHW. Plus, a listing of Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Collection Centers.
  • Lead information

    Lead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in paint and other products found in and around our homes. Lead also can be emitted into the air from industrial sources and leaded aviation gasoline, and lead can enter drinking water from plumbing materials. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children six years old and under are most at risk.
  • Mercury

    When a product containing mercury breaks and the mercury is spilled (as sometimes happens when its not disposed of properly), the exposed mercury can evaporate and become an invisible, odorless toxic vapor that can even adversely affect our fish supply. Check out these products and learn more about how to safely use and store them, and properly manage their disposal.
  • Natural hazards

    Natural hazards such as flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, and windstorms affect hundreds of people in Massachusetts every year. We need to know what our risks are from natural hazards and take sensible precautions to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.
  • Nuclear and radiological threats

    Some radioactive materials that are not used properly can pose unacceptable risks to people and the environment. Potassium iodide (also called KI) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine. Stable iodine is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones; however, taking KI may be harmful for some people because of the high levels of iodine in this medicine. Learn more about the possible risks and side effects of both here.
  • Pesticides

    Pesticides can protect your health by killing germs, animals or plants that could hurt you. However, most pesticides can be harmful to people or pets. Learn the best way to handle pesticides and how to dispose of empty containers. Also learn who to contact with specific pesticide questions.
  • Pharmaceuticals and personal care products

    Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) include products we use every day, such as medicines, insect repellents, sunscreens, perfumes, soaps, fragrances, and lotions. These products, which can be found in any drug store, have the potential to enter the environment through domestic sewage and other sources. Some are endocrine disrupting compounds (or EDCs) and could possibly affect the system of glands that produces hormones that help control the body's metabolic activity and development.

  • Radon links to Word file

    Radon is an odorless, radioactive gas formed from the breakdown of uranium and thorium. Exposure to high levels results in an increased risk of lung cancer. Here you'll find a fact sheet with helpful information regarding radon, and corrective actions should it be present in the air and water in your home.
  • Report a spill or environmental crime

    Find out who to call or email to report a spill of oil or hazardous material. Your call or email will be handled confidentially and you won't be asked to give your name if you prefer not to. The Strike Force takes all tips it receives very seriously, and follows up on every one.
  • Toxics and hazards

    MassDEP regulates and provides management guidance for many toxic and hazardous materials through regulations, policies, permits and online reporting, and the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA). The agency also provides information on handling hazardous household products.
  • Underground Storage Tanks

    Whether you own a residential or commercial property, it’s important to know that most underground storage tanks (USTs) used to store petroleum fuels or hazardous substances typically last between 10 and 50 years depending on site conditions, tank material, and maintenance. They may eventually leak if left in place or improperly maintained, which could contaminate the property. Here you can learn about compliance requirements, check information the state has on file about your USTs, complete required forms, find a third-party inspector and find out what to do in the event of a leak.
  • Waste Management

    When you recycle the products you use every day, like cardboard boxes, milk jugs, and soda cans, you give new life to items that used to be thrown away, saving energy and helping lower greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Learn more about what you can do.