Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program
Urban Communities: Introduction
An important goal of TRI is to empower citizens through information that will allow them to better understand industrial activity, environmental releases of toxic chemicals and potential risks in their communities. Using information from TRI can help inform community members about how toxic chemicals are managed in their neighborhoods and hold companies and governments accountable. TRI data may also serve as a rough indicator of facilities' environmental performance and progress over time. Additionally, knowing that TRI data are available to the public often spurs companies to focus on and improve their chemical management practices.
This section profiles 13 urban communities in the United States from the standpoint of toxic chemical disposal or other releases. Urban areas are home to more than 80% of the U.S. population, as well as many of the industrial facilities that report to TRI. The 13 urban communities profiled here are among the most populous in the United States and the most populous in each EPA region as defined by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) population. An MSA is an area of one or more socially and economically integrated adjacent counties, cities or towns. Together, these 13 communities contain about 29% of the U.S. population and about 19% of the facilities that report to TRI. The top U.S. MSAs, in decreasing order of their population are:
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
- Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
- Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
- Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
- St. Louis, MO-IL
- Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO
Top Major Metropolitan Statistical Areas Map
For each urban community profiled, we display the top TRI reporting industry sectors by quantity of toxic chemicals disposed of or otherwise released; the top chemicals disposed of or otherwise released to the air, water, land and underground injection; and trends in the disposal or other releases from 2003 to the most recent year of data, 2011. For consistency in presenting year-to-year trends only the years 2003 and later are shown. (In several years prior to 2003, industry sectors and chemicals were added to the TRI reporting requirements. For 2011, 16 new chemicals were added to the TRI list. Data for the new chemicals have not been included in the trend charts.)
Each urban community profile also lists the major industry sectors operating in the community. Much of this information was obtained from local business organizations or chambers of commerce, which advocate on behalf of the business community. It is important to note that not all of the industries mentioned in the urban community profiles are industry sectors required to report to TRI.
You can find more information on TRI-covered facilities and chemicals near your home by using the available online tools and resources. For example, using myRTK and TRI Explorer. You can enter your ZIP code to get a list of facilities in your area and detailed information on the toxic chemicals they manage as waste. Additionally, myRTK provides chemical hazard and facility compliance information.