3/3 – Visualizing Environmental Risk: Upstream Toxicity Index

Mockup of an Upstream Report

Mockup of an Upstream Report

The power of protecting your family from environmental concerns begins with awareness and an understanding of what the environmental risk is. Upstream Research has aggregated terabytes of already-available data and put it into a web application that anyone can use to see clearly what’s in their area. These are our Upstream Reports.

And, given the recent changes in the EPA, we have included an Upstream Toxicity Index to even more seamlessly outline the risk in a given area. When someone inputs the address of their choice into the web-app, the system generates a ‘score’ on a scale of 0 to 10 that helps visualize risk in this area. For example, this sample Report in NYC gives a score of 6.3 out of 10, which is “higher than 99 percent of American neighborhoods.”

Index values of 0 or 10 represent extreme cases, and currently no locations in the U.S. have such an extreme index value.  The Upstream Toxicity Index will be updated as new data becomes available and as we refine our indexing methods.

It is important to understand the caveat we include under every Toxicity Index score:

“This risk index gives an idea of the relative risk of toxic exposure in this location by boiling down multiple toxic exposure factors into a single number. Ranging from 0 to 10, a high number means that there is some cause for concern, while a low number means that few risk factors have been uncovered. The national average is 4.1.”

And, while the environment is not the only factor of good health, it is still a factor.


Upstream does not seek to outline correlation or causation with our datasets; we simply wish to inform and empower the public. Get your own 5 free Reports by clicking the button below.