Toxic Release Inventory






In 1986 the U.S. Congress passed a federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), which gives the public the right to know about industrial toxic chemicals that are released into the environment. At present this law, which is also known as Title III of the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act, requires businesses in certain industries that manufacture, process, or otherwise use any chemical from a list of 651 designated chemicals or chemical groups in amounts greater than a certain threshold to report annually to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their releases of these chemicals. The EPA maintains this information in a database called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which is available to the public over the Internet.


TRI Reporting Requirements

A plant, factory, or other facility must report chemical releases if it has ten or more full-time employees and manufactures, processes, or imports any of the listed chemicals in amounts greater than 25,000 pounds per year—or 10,000 pounds per year if any of the listed chemicals are otherwise used but not incorporated into a final product. The TRI classifies the chemicals according to their chemical and physical characteristics and contains information on release location. The TRI reports amounts that are released each year to the air, water, and land, as well as information on chemicals sent to waste-management facilities. Air emissions are separated into passive emissions

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SOURCE:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

TOP TEN TRI CHEMICAL ON-SITE AND OFF-SITE REPORTED RELEASES (IN POUNDS) FOR FACILITIES IN
ALL INDUSTRIES, UNITED STATES, 2000
Chemical Air Water Underground Injection Land Total On- and Off-Site
SOURCE : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Copper compounds 1,656,106 426,419 1,737,251 1,346,061,845 1,367,338,006
Zinc compounds 7,513,386 1,276,151 22,580,44 828,086,567 1,037,602,367
Hydrochloric acid 645,632,582 96,763 54,125 15,549 647,112,538
Manganese compounds 2,214,810 5,696,403 10,829,146 4,048,797,705 479,942,409
Arsenic compounds 240,956 166,482 1,809,735 469,413,711 476,640,941
Lead compounds 1,225,794 80,510 8,512,731 328,875,879 357,844,917
Nitrate compounds 336,731 232,960,319 57,203,694 13,041,063 317,119,741
Barium compounds 2,850,794 1,749,324 2,099,443 243,702,122 299,780,394
Methanol 183,176,226 3,753,931 18,353,232 1,828,212 208,566,348
Ammonia 139,047,851 7,560,654 27,335,270 5,772,773 184,124,675

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SOURCE:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

TRI TOTAL RELEASES BY INDUSTRY, 1998–2000. (DOES NOT
INCLUDE PBT CHEMICALS.)
Industry Total On- and Off-Site Releases, 2000, in Pounds Change 1998–2000, in Pounds and Percentage
SOURCE : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Manufacturing Industries 2,267,118,555 –154,218,664; –6.4
Metal Mining 3,310,956,485 –252,183,558; –7.1
Coal Mining 15,327,860 19,334,956; 14.4
Electric Utilities 1,120,615,348 –9,834,598; –0.9
Chemical Wholesale Distributors 1,611,790 91,350; 6.0
Petroleum Terminals/Bulk Storage 3,725,152 –786,620; –17.4
Hazardous Waste/Solvent Recovery 7,001,138,027 –409,262,569; –5.5

from storage or production and "stack" or point emissions. Releases to water include the name of the receiving water body.

Businesses required to report to TRI have expanded from the original manufacturing facilities and now include manufacturing, metal mining, coal mining, electric utilities that combust coal and/or oil, chemical wholesale distributors, petroleum terminals, bulk-storage facilities, hazardous-waste treatment and disposal facilities, solvent-recovery services, and federal facilities.


PBT Emissions

Persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals are a class of compounds that persist and bioaccumulate in the environment. They have the potential to result in greater exposure to humans and the environment over a longer period of time, making even smaller quantities of these chemicals of concern. In 2000 the TRI was expanded to include new PBT chemicals, and the reporting threshold was lowered for both the newly added chemicals and certain PBT chemicals already on the TRI list. The reporting criteria for most PBT chemicals was lowered to a threshold of one hundred pounds if manufactured, used, or processed. A threshold of ten pounds was established for another subset of PBT chemicals that are highly persistent and highly bioaccumulative, including mercury compounds, pesticides such as chlordane,

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SOURCE:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

COMPANIES WITH LARGEST EMISSIONS; TOTAL SURFACE WATER DISCHARGES
Companies with Largest Discharges Surface Water Discharges, in Pounds, 2000 Principal Chemical Releases
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
AK Steel Corp., PA 28,048,653 Nitrate Compounds
BASF Corp., TX 21,515,040 Nitrate Compounds
AK Steel, IN 12,211,850 Nitrate Compounds
Vicksburg Chemical Co., MS 7,966,805 Nitrate Compounds
IBP Inc., NE 6,700,250 Nitrate Compounds
Smithfield Packing Co., NC 5,129,795 Nitrate Compounds

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SOURCE:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

COMPANIES WITH LARGEST EMISSIONS; TOTAL AIR EMISSIONS
Companies with Largest Emissions Total Air Emissions, in Pounds, 2000 Principal Chemical Releases
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Magnesium Corp. of America, UT 43,932,001 Chlorine, Hydrochloric Acid
CP&L Roxboro Steam Electric Plant, NC 19,247,325 Hydrochloric Acid
Reliant Energies Inc., Keystone Power Plant, PA 18,460,972 Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid
Bowen Steam Electric Plant, GA 17,807,778 Sulfuric Acid, Hydrogen Fluoride
Lenzing Fibers Corp., TN 17,345,982 Carbon Disulfide
Gulf Power Co. Crist Plant, FL 16,621,882 Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid

SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
SOURCE:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

COMPANIES WITH LARGEST EMISSIONS; TOTAL LAND RELEASES
Companies with Largest Releases Total Releases to Land, in Pounds, 2000 Principal Chemical Releases
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Kennecott Utah Copper Mine, UT 813,758,255 Copper, Zinc, Antimony
Red Dog OPS Mine Facility, AK 445,322,528 Cadmium, Lead
Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc., NV 346,539,178 Arsenic, Manganese, Zinc
Newmont Mining Corp., Twin Creeks Mine, NV 219,922,901 Arsenic, Antimony
ASARCO Inc. Ray Complex Mine, AZ 155,098,189 Copper
Newmont Mining Corp., Carlin, NV 154,157,564 Arsenic, Zinc, Antimony

heptachlor, methoxychlor, and toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Since dioxins are highly persistent but are produced in extremely small amounts, the threshold for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds was set at 0.1 grams, with the provision that reporting include dioxin and dioxin-like compounds that are present as contaminants in a chemical or that are created during the manufacture of another chemical.


Reporting Trends

From 1998 to 2000, total TRI releases by all industries fell by 409.3 million pounds, or more than 5 percent. The largest decrease from 1999 to 2000 occurred in the metal mining industry.

SEE ALSO C OMPREHENSIVE E NVIRONMENTAL R ESPONSE , C OMPENSATION, AND L IABILITY A CT (CERCLA) ; H AZARDOUS W ASTE ; R ESOURCE C ONSERVATION AND R ECOVERY A CT .

Internet Resource

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Toxics Release Inventory Program." Available from http://www.epa.gov/tri .

Joan Rothlein



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