EPA Publishes Annual Toxics Release Inventory Report and Analysis

On January 30, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2016 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. The publicly available database shows that industrial facilities continue to reduce the releases of TRI chemicals through pollution reduction activities.

In 2016 according to the National Analysis, 87% – of the nearly 28 billion pounds of chemical waste – was not released into the environment due to the use of preferred waste management practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. These industrial facilities also reported implementing 5,900 new source reduction activities that eliminated or reduced the creation of chemical waste.

Coal- and oil-powered electric utilities and paper manufacturing facilities reported the greatest reductions, but nearly every sector reduced its air releases. Since 2006, air releases of TRI-listed chemicals fell 58% (at industrial facilities submitting data to the program).

Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, toluene, and mercury were among chemicals with significantly reduced air releases. This trend is helping protect millions of families and children from these harmful pollutants. During the ten-year period, combined hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid air releases declined more than 573 million pounds, and mercury and mercury compounds declined more than 89,000 pounds at TRI-covered facilities.

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report their annual releases of TRI chemicals for the prior calendar year to EPA by July 1. EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management. The Pollution Prevention Act also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities of TRI chemicals.

The National Analysis increases the transparency of the TRI Program and promotes user engagement and exploration of the annual TRI data. This year, the interactive website includes expanded access to tribal information, a closer look at off-site transfers of TRI chemicals, highlights of the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector’s pollution prevention achievements, and a discussion of the TRI Program’s role as a model in the international community.

The database includes easily accessible tools to learn more about the practices implemented to both manage waste and reduce pollution at nearly 22,000 facilities that submitted TRI data for calendar year 2016. EPA encourages facilities to learn from their counterpart’s best practices and adopt additional methods for reducing pollution.

To access the 2016 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis

Geert Dancet Becomes Secretary General of Helsinki Chemicals Forum

ECHA / Geert DancetGeert Dancet has been appointed Secretary General of Helsinki Chemicals Forum from 1 February 2018 onwards. The next Helsinki Chemicals Forum will take place from 14 to 15 June 2018. It is the 10th anniversary of the event.

Helsinki Chemicals Forum is the leading international special event for chemical safety and chemical management. The event attracts chemical safety experts and decision-makers to Messukeskus in Helsinki every year. As Secretary General, Dancet is responsible for developing the event and assembling a programme of upscale moderated panels, discussions and keynote presentations. Previously, Geert Dancet worked as the Executive Director of The European Chemicals Agency ECHA.

“I am glad that I can continue working with chemical safety,” says Dancet. “In providing the coordination of the annual conference, I will benefit from my extensive expertise and network from my years at ECHA and the European Commission. My aim is to develop the Helsinki Chemicals Forum into an even stronger and globally acknowledged chemical safety event”.

Geert Dancet was interim Executive Director in 2007 and became the first elected Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in January 2008. Under his leadership, the Agency successfully managed all regulatory processes of the REACH and CLP regulations. His mandate ended in 2017. Before arriving in Finland, he spent more than 20 years in the European Commission in different positions.

The programme for the Helsinki Chemicals Forum has been prepared by the previous Secretary General – Hannu Vornamo – and the international Programme Committee, which has representatives from the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Environment Canada, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL, a major global NGO) and Chemical Watch (a leading news service in the field). The Helsinki Chemical Forum thanks Hannu Vornamo for his 10 years of service as Secretary General and is happy to announce that he will now join the Advisory Board.

The Helsinki Chemicals Forum is organised by the Chemicals Forum Association in co-operation with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Commission, The European Chemical Industry Council CEFIC, the City of Helsinki, the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland and the University of Helsinki. This event will be held for the 10th time in Messukeskus, Helsinki from 14 to 15 June 2018.