Posted: January 14, 2015
WASHINGTON — Similar to previous years, in 2013, most of the toxic chemical waste managed at industrial facilities in the U.S. was not released into the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. The report, published today, shows that approximately 22 billion pounds— or 84 percent— of the 26 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste were instead managed through the use of preferred practices such as recycling. Of the 4 billion pounds that were disposed of or otherwise released to the environment, 66 percent went to land, 19 percent to air, 5 percent to water, and 10 percent was transferred to other facilities.
From 2012 to 2013, the amount of toxic chemicals managed as waste by the nation’s industrial facilities increased by 4 percent. This increase includes the amount of chemicals recycled, treated, and burned for energy recovery, as well as the amount disposed of or otherwise released into the environment. In TRI, a “release” generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.
“We all have a right to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released into our environment, and what steps companies are taking to reduce their releases to the environment or, better yet, prevent waste from being generated in the first place.” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The TRI Program tracks this information and makes it accessible to citizens and communities. And I’m pleased to see that TRI data show such a commitment to release reductions and pollution prevention on the part of many industrial facilities.” Read more