2003 Toxics Release Inventory Shows Continued Decline in Chemical Releases

2003 Toxics Release Inventory Shows Continued Decline in Chemical Releases

EPA's 2003 Toxics Release Inventory, released today, shows that the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment by reporting facilities continues to decline, with total reductions of 42% since 1998 and a 6% decrease from 2002 to 2003.

TRI provides the American public with vital information on chemical releases including disposal for their communities, and is an important instrument for industries to gauge their progress in reducing pollution. Over 23,000 facilities reported on approximately 650 chemicals for calendar year 2003. TRI reporting includes toxics managed in landfills and underground injection wells as well as those released into water and the air.

EPA continues to make progress on electronic reporting by facilities this year, making it possible to release the data to the public more quickly. Eighty-six percent of reports were submitted electronically. The data released and analyzed at a national level today were released on a facility-specific basis last November.

TRI tracks the chemicals and industrial sectors specified by the Emergency Community Right to Know Act of 1986 and its amendments. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) of 1990 also mandates that TRI collect data on toxic chemicals treated on-site, recycled, and burned for energy recovery. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals.

There are certain increases in mercury, PCBs and dioxin in the 2003 TRI data. Some of these increases, however, are due to reporting anomalies.

The TRI data and background information are available online.