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Copper, Lead Among Most Commonly Released Toxic Chemicals in Arizona, According to Latest U.S. EPA Report Released Today  / 88 million pounds of toxic chemicals released into environment, decrease of nearly 9 million pounds from previous year

Release Date: 03/19/2009
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270, simms.mary@epa.gov  

SAN FRANCISCO (3/19/2009) – Toxic releases into the environment from facilities operating in Arizona decreased nine percent in 2007 when compared to 2006, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The decline in reported toxic chemicals released into the environment in Arizona was primarily due to a decrease in on-site land releases from mining facilities.   

      The data comes from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, commonly referred to as TRI.  It’s one of EPA’s largest publicly available databases, arming communities with valuable information on more than 650 toxic chemicals released by various industries.  The chemical information in the inventory is calculated by industrial facilities and reported to the EPA, as required by law. 

     “The Toxic Release Inventory program arms communities with powerful information,” said Laura Yoshii, acting EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region.  “The inventory is a tremendous tool to help protect public health and the environment. Safe communities depend on well-informed citizens.” 

     Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged by facilities to air, water, land, and underground, and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.  Regulatory controls apply to many of the reported releases.  Reporting facilities must comply with environmental standards set by local, state and federal agencies.

Data from 2007 in Arizona shows:

•           Overall on-site land releases decreased by 8 percent, decreasing more than 7 million pounds.

•           Air releases decreased by 13 percent, down 591 thousand pounds.

•           Water releases increased 638 pounds, up 17 percent from 2006 data.

     Annual data Toxic Release Inventory reporting began in 1987.  The inventory provides information on annual toxic chemical releases reported by certain industrial and federal facilities.  The TRI does not include data on toxic emissions from cars and trucks, nor from the majority of non-industrial sources, such as agriculture. 

In 2000, TRI expanded to include persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, or PBTs, at ranges from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds. PBT pollutants are toxic chemicals that remain in the environment and food chain, posing risks to human health and ecosystems.  In Arizona, more than 19 million pounds of total on-site and off-site releases of PBT chemicals were reported -- an increase of 22 percent from the previous reporting year.  The overall increase of PBT releases in the state was driven by an increase in lead and lead compounds releases.

The top facilities in Arizona for total on-site and off-site releases of all chemicals (reported in pounds) are:

            Facility Name                                                                      City                      Total Releases

1          Freeport-Mcmoran Miami, Inc                                                  Claypool                  37,167,504

2          Asarco Llc Ray Complex/Hayden Smelter & Concentrator        Hayden                     21,182,975

3          Freeport-Mcmoran Morenci, Inc                                               Morenci                   8,096,460

4          Asarco Llc Mission Complex                                                  Sahuarita                  4,040,432

5          Tucson Electric Power Co Springerville Generation Station        Springerville              3,553,540

6          Freeport-Mcmoran Bagdad Inc                                                  Bagdad                     2,065,004

7          Freeport-Mcmoran Sierrita Inc                                                 Green Valley             2,029,531

8          Cholla Power Plant                                                                 Joseph City            1,899,675

9          Coronado Generating Station                                                    St Johns               1,133,850

10        Asarco Llc Ray Mine Operations                                               Kearny                 1,068,253

TRI explorer 

TRI Explorer is a database tool that you can use to see the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data.  It allows you to look at data by state, county, or zip code; by chemical; and by industry.  It provides maps that you can click on to find TRI facilities, chemicals and industries in a particular area.

Some findings of interest at the national level:

There was a 5 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases into the environment nationwide from 2006 to 2007. 

•           PBTs make up 12 percent of total releases and have increased by 1 percentage point from 2006-2007.  Lead drives overall PBT statistics with 98 percent of total releases for 2007.  Lead showed a less than 1 percent increase (3.5 million pounds) from 2006-2007.

•           Mercury releases increased by 38 percent (1.9 million pounds).

•           On-site land releases are down 6 percent (113 million pounds) since 2006.

Region 9 TRI home: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/index.html

Region 9 TRI Arizona: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/report/07/tri-az.html

     The following web sites also provide city, county and facility information on TRI: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/ and http://www.epa.gov/enviro. State fact sheets are available at: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm.

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