EPA releases Toxic Release Inventory analysis

January 24, 2015

Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued their 2013 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data. The TRI is intended to make information regarding the management and release of toxic chemicals accessible to the general public.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, "We all have a right to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released into our environment, and what steps companies are taking to reduce their releases to the environment or, better yet, prevent waste from being generated in the first place."

The TRI generally defines "release" as the discharge of chemicals into the air or water, or placement in landfills. Chemicals reported to the EPA as a part of the Toxic Release Inventory are heavily regulated in terms of disposal, to limit harm to humans and the environment.  

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know ACT, facilities in industrial sectors must report toxic releases for the previous year to the EPA by the 1st of July every year. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 extends this requirement to providing detailed reports of pollution prevention activities regarding TRI chemicals.

Analysis of the TRI found that the majority of chemicals utilized by industrial facilities were not released into the environment, despite a 4% increase in chemical waste being handled between 2012 and 2013. Additionally over the past decade total release amounts have decreased by 7 percent.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she was happy with what the TRI showed. "I'm pleased to see that TRI data show such a commitment to release reductions and pollution prevention on the part of many industrial facilities."

Environmental consultants offer a broad range of services to governmental, commercial, and industrial enterprises. These include compliance consulting and due diligence, to aid organizations in their efforts to abide by EPA rules and regulations.