The Environmental Protection Agency has issued its most recent set of
preliminary data on toxic chemical releases and transfers at industrial
facilities nationwide, with the data showing an increase in releases for
The public can now access all of the data reported to the Toxics Release
Inventory for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011. The inventory provides information on
toxic chemicals produced and used at industrial facilities and how they are
managed, through the online tools Envirofacts and TRI
Current data in TRI Explorer, dated Oct. 31, show that total on- and off-site
releases increased from 3.8 billion pounds in 2010 to 4.1 billion pounds in
EPA usually releases an initial data set in July that is updated over several
months as it goes through quality checks before the annual TRI National Analysis
is released. The national analysis marks trends in national and local toxic
releases, trends in chemicals managed by TRI facilities, and examines certain
chemicals of interest, industry sectors, parent companies, and geographic
The preliminary data for 2011 set included information from 20,927 facilities
on 513 chemicals.
Sixteen of the chemicals, classified as carcinogens by the National
Toxicology Program, were reported to TRI for the first time in 2011 (34 CRR
The new chemicals are: 1-amino-2,4-dibromoanthraquinone;
2,2-bis(bromomethyl)-1,3-propanediol; furan; glycidol; isoprene; methyleugenol;
1,6-dinitropyrene; 1,8-dinitropyrene; 6-nitrochrysene; 4-nitropyrene;
o-nitroanisole; nitromethane; phenolphthalein; tetrafluoroethylene,
tetranitromethane; and vinyl fluoride.
Releases and transfers of reported carcinogens have doubled since 2008, while
those of persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic compounds (PBTs) have risen by
Manufacturing, metal mining, coal mining, electric utilities, and commercial
hazardous waste treatment facilities are among the 26 industries that must
report to TRI. EPA is considering adding reporting requirements for iron ore
mining, phosphate mining, solid waste combustors and incinerators, large dry
cleaners, petroleum bulk storage, and steam generation from coal or oil (36 CRR
The metal mining industry, which usually accounts for the largest share of
toxics reported by industries, became an even larger contributor to the
inventory in 2011, reaching 46 percent of total releases, according to the
latest data. In 2008, metal mining made up 30 percent of total releases.
For states, environmental groups, academics, and companies reporting to TRI
that are interested in seeing the raw data, timeliness is essential, Sean
Moulton, director of federal information policy for OMB Watch, told BNA Nov.
“The closer you can get data from the [toxics-releasing] activities, the
better,” Moulton said.
EPA expects to release a National Analysis for 2011 TRI data in December.
By Andrea Vittorio
EPA's Toxics Release Inventory reporting tool Envirofacts is available
EPA's TRI Explorer is available at http://iaspub.epa.gov/triexplorer/tri_release.chemical.