The TOXICS RELEASE INVENTORY (TRI) is a publicly available database
containing information on toxic chemical releases and other waste
management activities in the
United States .
* 1 Overview
* 1.1 Summary of requirements
* 1.2 Origins of TRI
* 2 Revisions to reporting requirements
* 3 Accessing TRI data
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
SUMMARY OF REQUIREMENTS
The database is available from the
United States Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and contains information reported annually by
some industry groups as well as federal facilities. Each year,
companies across a wide range of industries (including chemical,
mining, paper, oil and gas industries) that produce more than 25,000
pounds or handle more than 10,000 pounds of a listed toxic chemical
must report it to the TRI. The TRI threshold was initially set at
75,000 pounds annually. If the company treats, recycles, disposes, or
releases more than 500 pounds of that chemical into the environment
(as opposed to just handling it), then they must provide a detailed
inventory of that chemical's inventory.
ORIGINS OF TRI
The inventory was first proposed in a 1985
New York Times
New York Times op-ed piece
written by David Sarokin and Warren Muir, researchers for an
environmental group, INFORM. Congress established TRI under the
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (
and later expanded it in the
Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 . The
law grew out of concern surrounding Union Carbide\'s releases of toxic
gases in the 1984
Bhopal disaster and a smaller 1985 release in
Institute, West Virginia .
REVISIONS TO REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Proposed changes in late 2005 would have weakened the reporting
standards for the TRI program. Several state attorneys general wrote
to EPA asking that the standard not be altered. The proposed revisions
came under fire from
Eliot Spitzer , then the Attorney General for New
York , who said "Public disclosure has proven to be a strong incentive
for polluters to reduce their use of toxic chemicals, this move by EPA
appears to be yet another poorly considered notion to appease a few
polluting constituents at the expense of a valuable program." EPA
originally proposed to reduce the required reporting frequency from
every year to every other year. This drew intense criticism, and the
idea was dropped.
However, EPA went forward with another part of the plan that
initially did not receive much attention. Companies were previously
required to disclose any release over 2000 pounds (907 kg) on a more
detailed "Form R" rather than the less detailed "Form A." With the new
regulations, the minimum reporting requirements for Form R have been
increased to 5000 pounds (2268 kg), thus reducing the amount of
information available. Although this move was widely criticized by the
public as well as many officials, EPA went ahead with the new rule
anyway. EPA claimed that the comments submitted opposed to the Form R
requirements were invalid because nearly all the people who had
commented did so on both the change in reporting frequency as well as
the minimum amounts required for Form R.
ACCESSING TRI DATA
The data in the
Toxic Release Inventory is available to the public,
but initially the system was difficult to access. In recent years, EPA
and several other organizations have made the task much easier.
There are several tools for mapping the TRI data to particular
locations. These tools also allow the user to view some of the
information in the database. TOXMAP, Benzene on-site releases,
all mediums, lower 48 States, reported to EPA 2012 TRI Program, shown
TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) from the Division
of Specialized Information Services of the
United States National
Library of Medicine (NLM) that uses maps of the
United States to help
users visually explore data from the
United States Environmental
Protection Agency 's (EPA)
Toxics Release Inventory
Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund
Basic Research Programs .
TOXMAP is a resource funded by the US
Federal Government. TOXMAP's chemical and environmental health
information is taken from NLM's Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET) and
PubMed , and from other authoritative sources.
MAPECOS, A Map of Industrial Environmental Performance
* MapEcos.org is a browser-based tool. It allows users to access an
interactive map of the US showing the most recent TRI data. The map
can be searched for locations of interest. At lower zoom levels, it
allows the user to get information on pollution from particular
facilities. This site was created by faculty and students at Dartmouth
Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School , and
Duke University .
* The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has created a
File for Google Earth which shows all of the most recent
reports to the TRI database. It also includes locations from the
equivalent Canadian and Mexican pollution inventory. The system
currently only maps the locations and links to data at the national
* DotGovWatch offers a simple browser-based map of TRI data. The map
can be searched by city, address, and each facility's detailed
emissions are available.
RESEARCH ORIENTED PORTALS
* RTKnet.org Run by Center for Effective Government (formally OMB
Watch), this site provides access to current to a variety of EPA data,
including data for the TRI. Queries allow users to download files with
the raw data.
* The EPA also provides access to the raw data through their
Envirofacts site. As with RTK net, queries to the underlying
relational database produce downloadable text documents.
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
Pollutant release and transfer register
* ^ Too Little
Toxic Waste Data, New York Times, Oct 7, 1985, pg
* ^ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, DC.
Toxics Release Inventory
Toxics Release Inventory Program." Accessed 2009-12-20.
* ^ Geiselman, Bruce (2006-01-30). "States ask EPA to reconsider
TRI changes". Waste & Recycling News. ISSN 1091-6199 .
* ^ Center for Effective Government (2007). "EPA Finalizes Rules
for Toxics Release Inventory." January 9, 2007. Vol. 8, No. 1.
* ^ Walker, Peter (2007). "Mapping out the environment." CNN.com.
* ^ GIS News:Google Earth layer helps mapping industrial