According to the new EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report, regulation and new environmental controls are contributing to a measurable downturn in the release of toxic chemical waste. The TRI report tracks the nationwide management of toxic chemicals that pose potential threats to human health and the environment, and is part of a mandatory EPA reporting program governing all businesses that handle these chemicals.
The new report shows that 26 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste were present in over 21,500 American industrial facilities in 2013. Of that, 22 billion pounds were successfully recycled through environmentally preferred practices. Of the 4 billion pounds that were instead released, two-thirds went into land areas, 19 percent went into the air, 10 percent was transferred to other facilities, and five percent was released into waterways.
The report also shows that the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by American companies rose by four percent between 2012 and 2013. However, between 2003 and 2013, total releases into the environment decreased by seven percent. The report credits this decrease to factors such as a reduction in HAP emissions by electric utilities, a shift from coal to other fuel sources, use of emission control technologies in coal-fired power plants, and increased state-level environmental regulations.
"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.” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a prepared statement. “The TRI Program tracks this information and makes it accessible to citizens and communities. And 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.”
TRI reporting requirements were created in 1986 as part of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), in response to the disastrous release of toxic chemicals in Bhopal, India which killed thousands—the worst industrial accident in world history. In 1990, the Pollution Prevention Act further strengthened these requirements by mandating facilities submit information on all pollution prevention and waste management activities related to TRI. TRI reporting is required by law, and the EPA regularly acts to enforce compliance though fines and related corrective actions.
At MSDSonline, our innovative chemical management tools can help users prepare for TRI reporting and similar obligations. Our industry-leading online database allows users to seamlessly locate safety data sheets for the over 650 toxic chemicals and chemical categories that must be reported to the EPA under TRI. Our SARA Title III reporting functionalities have tools for meeting all four SARA obligations, including Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Section 313, required for TRI. In addition, our Enviro Tool Kit offers users on-demand access to hundreds of compliance education resources, with several modules covering TRI reporting requirements and related issues.
For more information on the EPA’s 2013 TRI analysis, you can visit their webpage here.
To learn how MSDSonline’s hazardous chemical inventory management system can help you meet next year's reporting requirements, visit us online or contact one of our helpful representatives at 1.888.362.2007.