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U.S. EPA Issues Arizona Toxic Release Data, Copper and Zinc Among Most Common

Release Date: 12/08/2009
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415-947-4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

Latest report shows 95 million pounds of toxics released into environment, increase of more than 6 million pounds

(12/8/09--SAN FRANCISCO) Toxic releases into the environment from facilities operating in Arizona increased seven percent in 2008 when compared to 2007, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 6.6 million pound increase is primarily due to an increase 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.

“We encourage people to use data from the Toxics Release Inventory in order to gain a better understanding of what is being released into their neighborhoods,” said Laura Yoshii, acting EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “Industry and communities informed with accurate information can use the inventory as a starting point to find opportunities to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land we enjoy.”

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 2008 in Arizona show:

    Overall toxic releases increased by 7% mostly due to an increase in on-site land releases from mining facilities

    274 facilities in Arizona reported 95.2 million pounds of toxic chemical releases
    Air releases decreased 14%, 601 thousand pounds
    Water releases increased 1,250%, 55 thousand pounds

    87% of Arizona’s on and off –site releases can be attributed to mining or primary metal facilities
    The top five released chemicals are copper, zinc (fume or dust), lead, barium, and manganese

    17.5 million pounds of on and off-site releases of PBT chemicals were reported, a decrease of 1.6 million pounds, or 8% since 2007

    Arizona ranks #6 in the United States for reported mercury releases

Annual Toxics Release Inventory reporting began in 1987 after the enactment of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (1996). The inventory provides information to the public 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.

The top facilities in Arizona for total on-site and off-site releases of all chemicals (reported in pounds) are:
Facility NameCityTotal Releases
1Asarco LLC Ray Complex/Hayden Smelter & ConcentratorHayden25,316,913
2Freeport-McMoran Miami Inc.Claypool25,304,600
3Cyprus Tohono Corp.Casa Grande13,394,257
4Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc.Morenci8,630,764
5Springerville Generating StationSpringerville3,194,773
6Freeport-McMoran Sierrita Inc.Green Valley2,394,534
7Cholla Power PlantJoseph City2,353,324
8Coronado Generating StationSaint Johns2,214,812
9Freeport-McMoran Bagdad Inc.Bagdad2,065,794
10BHP Copper Inc. Pinto Valley OperationMiami2,019,233

TRI Explorer
TRI Explorer is a 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; or by industry. It provides maps that you can click on to find TRI facilities, chemicals and industries in a particular area.

National TRI Findings:
    There was a 6% decrease in total reported releases into the environment nationwide from 2007 to 2008
    The number of facilities reporting chemical releases decreased 5% nationally

    Total PBT chemical releases decreased by 2% nation-wide

For more on the TRI program including additional city, county and facility information, please visit the EPA’s Web sites: http://www.epa.gov/tri, http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer and http://www.epa.gov/enviro.

State fact sheets are available at: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/ and http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm.

For more information on the PBT Chemicals Program, please visit the EPA’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/pbt

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