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STATE | EPA toxics release inventory report provides residents with information on chemical releases
SEATTLE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published the 2011 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, providing information to communities about chemical releases to air, water and land across the nation. In Washington state, 316 facilities reported 19 million pounds of toxic chemical disposal and releases in 2011, a decrease of 8 percent from 2010. Washington ranks 37th in the nation for total TRI chemicals reported released.
The TRI Program collects information on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country. Industries that must report to TRI include manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities and hazardous waste facilities. Many of the releases from TRI facilities are regulated under various EPA programs and requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.
The most recent TRI data from 2011 show that total releases of TRI-listed chemicals have increased nationwide for the second year in a row. Nationally, 4.09 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were disposed of or released into the environment, an 8 percent increase from 2010. Chemicals are placed on the TRI list based on their potential to cause adverse effects to human health or the environment. The TRI data alone do not reflect actual health exposures to chemicals or risk posed by releases.
EPA improved TRI national analysis report by adding new information about facility efforts to reduce pollution, insights into why air releases are declining, and an enhanced analysis of releases on tribal lands. With this report and EPA’s Web-based TRI tools, citizens can access information about where toxic chemicals come from and where they go. Public interest groups use TRI data to show how chemical releases are spread across the country and across industry. TRI reports and mapping tools allow members of the public to learn if toxic chemicals are released in their neighborhoods.
Facilities must report their toxic chemical releases to EPA under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) by the beginning of July each year.
More on the 2011 TRI analysis and TRI Web-based tools: http://www.epa.gov/tri/NationalAnalysis.
More on EPA Region 10 data: www.epa.gov/region10/tri/2011data.html.