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EPA Reports Latest Inventory of Chemicals Released

Release Date: 03/22/2007
Contact Information: Contact: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (March 22, 2007) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released data today from its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), providing information on toxic chemicals used and released in 2005 by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, and other facilities across the nation. The data is available this year earlier than ever before for local communities and national analysis.

In EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, the 2005 TRI data indicates a small increase of 0.4 percent or 1.5 million pounds of on and off site chemical releases compared with 2004 data. A total of 383.3 million pounds of chemicals were released during 2005 to the air, water or landfills by facilities in the mid-Atlantic region, which comprises Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Releases in this same geographic area totaled 381.8 million pounds in 2004.

Review of the last five years of TRI data for the mid-Atlantic region shows a 17.5 percent reduction in toxic pollutants based on the release of 464.7 million pounds in 2000.

“The TRI is a valuable resource for citizens and government alike,@ said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “Getting this information out faster to the public is good for all communities.”

Today’s data includes information on releases and other wastes from more than 650 chemicals and chemical compounds that companies are required to report under EPA=s Toxic Release Inventory Program. The data includes chemicals that were released at companies’ facilities and those transported to disposal facilities off site. TRI reporting has been credited for encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals through source reduction or pollution prevention measures.

Some chemicals in TRI reporting are characterized as persistent bioaccumlative toxics (PBTs), including lead and lead compounds, and mercury and mercury compounds. PBT chemicals are long-lasting substances that can build up in the food chain to levels harmful to humans and the environment. The PBT data reflects a decrease in lead and lead compound releases from 8.7 million pounds in 2002 to 6.2 million pounds in 2005. Mercury and mercury compound releases decreased from 58,920 pounds in 2002 to 45,812 in 2005.

The reporting of data to the TRI is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act passed in 1986. The TRI provides the amount, location, and type of releases to the environment from pollutants emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. It also includes information on waste shipped off-site for disposal or further treatment.

The chemical emissions reported under TRI to EPA and the states by industry generally reflect legal discharges of pollutants to the environment. It is also important to review the full data in context, since in many cases, changes from one year to the next are less important than longer term trends.

TRI information is easily accessible online to the news media and the public at www.epa.gov/triexplorer. For more detailed information on a specific facility, go to: www.epa.gov/enviro/html/tris/tris_query.html

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