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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA 2014 Toxic Release Inventory shows increased recycling in California

Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report that showed that the majority of toxic chemicals managed at industrial facilities in the U.S. increased as a result of production, while releases into the environment decreased. The trend showing a decrease in releases to the environment is attributed to an increase in recycling rates.

A total of 1,277 California facilities reported 568.5 million pounds of production-related toxic chemicals, 363.8 million pounds recycled and 23.3 million pounds released on-site. California's total releases (both on-site and off-site) were 27.8 million pounds, a decrease of 20 percent when compared to the 34.6 million pounds reported in 2013.

"People have a right to know what chemicals are being produced in their communities, and how to find out by accessing the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory on the web," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "The latest data shows that industry is recycling more and more each year, which is good for the economy and for the environment."

The top 5 producers in California are:

Clean Harbors in Buttonwillow, a hazwaste disposal facility
Chevron in El Segundo, an oil refinery
Valero in Benicia, an oil refinery
Chemical Waste Management in Kettleman City, a hazwaste disposal facility
Quemetco in Los Angeles, a battery recycler

The top 5 recyclers in California are:

Alcoa Global Fasteners, a metal fabricator in Fullerton
Exide Technologies, a battery recycler in Los Angeles, which shutdown in 2015
Kinsbursky Brothers, a battery recycler in Anaheim
Demenno/Kerdoon, a vehicle fluids recycling facility in Compton
DOW Chemical, a chemical production facility in Pittsburg

Nationally in 2014, approximately 84 percent of the 25 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were managed through the use of preferred practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. Recycling accounted for approximately 48 percent of that figure.

In the TRI, a "release" generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal unit. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of federal and state requirements designed to protect human health and the environment. Typically, facilities that report to the TRI, considered producers, are larger industrial operators involved in manufacturing, metal mining, electric power generation, chemical manufacturing and hazardous waste treatment.

TRI data is submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), by July 1 of each year facilities must report their toxic chemical releases for the prior year. The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities related to TRI chemicals.

The current TRI toxic chemical list contains 594 individually-listed chemicals in 31 chemical categories. In general, chemicals covered by the TRI Program are those that cause one or more of the following: cancer or other chronic human health effects, significant adverse acute human health or environmental effects.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) was enacted to encourage and support emergency planning efforts at the state and local level, and to provide the public with information concerning the amounts, location and potential effects of chemical hazards present in their community. To accomplish this, EPCRA created TRI, a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain industries and federal facilities.

For more information about the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and to get TRI factsheets for your community, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/epcra

For more California information, including multi-year trends, please visit: http://iaspub.epa.gov/triexplorer/tri_factsheet.factsheet_forstate?pstate=CA&pyear=2014&pParent=TRI&pDataSet=TRIQ1

To learn more about how different facilities have managed and reduced their toxic chemical wastes and how they compare to similar facilities, use the TRI Pollution Prevention (P2) tool: http://www3.epa.gov/enviro/facts/tri/p2.html