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EPA Annual Toxics Report Details Chemicals Released from Facilities in Puerto Rico

Release Date: 03/22/2007
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The amount of toxic chemicals released into the air in Puerto Rico fell by almost one million pounds, from 8.0 million pounds in 2004 to a total of 7.1 million pounds in 2005, according to data in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report issued today in record time. The TRI data shows the total amount of chemical releases to water, land and air in Puerto Rico dropped 12.3% from 2004 through 2005.

    “The TRI data for Puerto Rico reveals an encouraging trend, one that bodes well for a cleaner environment,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “This report is a valuable tool for communities, local government and business leaders alike because it provides valuable information about chemicals being released into our environment and shows businesses where to focus efforts on making process improvements.”
      TheTRI report also tracks a dramatic reduction in sulfuric acid emissions from power plants on the Island during a period of rising energy demands. The quantity of sulfuric acid released into the air in Puerto Rico fell by 33%, from a total of 8.25 million pounds in 2001 to a total of 5.5 million pounds in 2005. In 1999, some power plants in Puerto Rico began switching the concentration of sulfur in fuel oil from 1.5% to 0.5%. The conversion to the lower sulfur fuel at all the plants was completed earlier this month.

      “The increased use of low-sulfur fuel documented in the TRI report translates into direct health benefits for the people of Puerto Rico,” added Steinberg.

      The TRI is the most comprehensive source of information about chemicals released into the environment. On a national level, over 23,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals for calendar year 2005. Thanks to improvements in EPA’s system, the vast majority of facilities now report data electronically and detailed information about specific facilities is more readily accessible to the public.

      The TRI tracks the chemicals released by facilities specified by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that TRI data include information on toxic chemicals treated on-site, recycled, and burned for energy recovery.

      The TRI data and background information are available to the public at: http://www.epa.gov/tri. Communities can also quickly and easily identify local facilities and chemical releases by using the TRI explorer mapping tool, available at: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer.

      (07-031)