The Washington, D.C.-based Chemical Manufacturers Assn. (CMA) and Environmental Defense announced that 400 companies have signed up to provide accelerated hazard screening for more than 2,000 top-selling chemicals that they manufacture. The companies have responded to an EPA program designed to secure preliminary hazard-testing data for the public on about 2,800 of the highest-volume industrial chemicals in the U.S. economy. The EPA program sets a 2004 deadline for completing first-level screening of all U.S. high-production-volume chemicals (those made or imported in amounts of more than 1 million pounds per year.) "These commitments represent a giant first step," says Fred Krupp, executive director of Environmental Defense. "The public's right to know about the chemicals around us is getting a significant boost from the companies that make those chemicals." "This is the largest voluntary chemical health and safety program ever, and working together made it possible," says Fred Webber, president of CMA. "We have a common goal of protecting public health."