Barack Obama has ordered federal agencies to review safety rules at chemical facilities nationwide.

"Chemicals, and the facilities where they are manufactured, stored, distributed, and used, are essential to today's economy," Obama wrote in an executive order. "Past and recent tragedies have reminded us, however, that the handling and storage of chemicals are not without risk."

The executive order also calls for better coordination among federal, state and local agencies in the regulation of chemical plants.

Obama also said, "The federal government has developed and implemented numerous programs aimed at reducing the safety risks and security risks associated with hazardous chemicals. However, additional measures can be taken by executive departments and agencies with regulatory authority to further improve chemical facility safety and security in coordination with owners and operators."