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RISMEDIA, April 26, 2007-Research released by Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR) shows more than 400,000 leaking underground storage tanks and more than 1 million incidents of properties with known hazardous contamination spills have been reported in government records, all of which pose a serious health threat to residents nationwide.

"These numbers highlight the need for consumers to better understand what is present on and around their property or the property they are considering buying. The presence of environmental contaminants in the ground beneath a home and the neighborhood around it, and the potential impact they could have on a family's health is something homeowners and home buyers should investigate for their own safety," said EDR CEO Robert Barber.

The over 400,000 known leaking underground oil tanks present safety, legal and cost concerns for homeowners and home buyers due to the amount of potential contamination and high cost of removal and remediation. Many of the tanks identified in government records were buried decades ago, and their existence is often unknown by the current resident. As a result, unsuspecting home buyers can inherit the burden and cost for removing the tank and any contamination that occurred.

The over 1 million properties affected by chemical spills that EDR identified were all reported to federal, state and local agencies as locations where hazardous substances were released. These can be large or small events where pollutants, ranging from oil and gasoline to heavy-duty industrial chemicals, have been recorded by government agencies as property contaminants.

The statistics were compiled from federal, state and municipal records, by EDR, the nation's leading provider of environmental risk information. In recent years, demand by consumers to find out if buried oil tanks or other contaminants exist on or near a property has grown, particularly as part of home buyer due diligence that also includes researching school systems or local crime rates.

"In the last year we have seen an increase in the number of people looking for more in-depth information about the conditions around a home and more and more home inspectors are including environmental reports in their service offering," said Frank Lesch, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).

"Information that was once elusive or too expensive for a homeowner is now readily available as a result of the technology we have to harness extensive data from local, state and federal offices that allows us to identify the existing conditions of any property in the United States," said Barber.

Because contamination is often the result of historical activities, it usually shows no visible signs of the dangers posed to residents through toxic air, water or soil. Professionally prepared environmental risk reports are the only way to screen for these types of issues, and EDR has the data.

EDR recommends home buyers ask an EDR-Certified home inspector or their real estate agent how to access an environmental report on their property.

For more information, visit