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