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New Toxic Release Data for Rhode Island Shows Drop in Pollution Discharges; EPA Data Also Includes List of Top 10 Emitters in RI

Release Date: 06/30/2003
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – Data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show an 88 percent decline since 1988 – and a 14 percent drop since 2000 – in toxic releases to the environment by facilities in Rhode Island.

The Toxic Release Inventory data, made available each year to the public and on the world wide web, covers pollution releases to air, water and land by power plants, manufacturers and other facilities. Just over one million pounds of chemicals were released in Rhode Island by 160 facilities during 2001, the most recent year for which data is available.

The 2001 data is the second year that reporting was required for a group of persistent pollutants known as bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs). These compounds, including mercury, dioxins, PCBs and lead, do not break down in the environment and build up in organisms, including fish, wildlife and humans. These compounds can have adverse effects on women of child bearing age, pregnant women, fetuses and babies. In 2001, facilities in Rhode Island released 3 pounds of mercury, and 12,864 pounds of lead and lead-containing compounds.

"Knowledge about what's being discharged into the environment is hugely important, both for EPA and for the public," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "This TRI data lets us see the volume and kinds of pollution being discharged into the environment and where those discharges are coming from. This information is a cornerstone for environmental protection at the federal, state and local level. I'm especially pleased to see impressive increases in new facilities reporting on PBT emissions. This reporting is very important as we focus on eliminating threats from mercury, lead and other toxins that, even in very small amounts, can have adverse effects on developing children."

"The data released today by EPA shows a continued significant decline in the amount of toxic pollutants released into the environment by Rhode Island industries," said Jan H. Reitsma, Director of the RI Department of Environmental Management. "Both Departmental efforts to reduce toxic emissions and progress by industry in upgrading equipment and implementing pollution prevention practices in their daily operations are bearing fruit. In fact, the EPA list itself indicates that five out of six companies that appear on both the 2000 and 2001 lists have reduced pollutants, two by extremely significant amounts."

Nationwide, in 2001 facilities released 6.16 billion pounds of toxins to the air, the water, or to land both on- and off-site releases. The list of chemicals emitted and facilities required to report has expanded several times since the inventory was begun for 1988 releases, but comparing releases in 2001 of only those chemicals and industry sectors reported in 1988 show an 54.5% drop nationwide. Nationally, PBT chemicals accounted for 454.4 million pounds of total on- and off-site releases in 2001.

Today's data includes information on releases and other wastes from 667 toxic chemicals and chemical categories that companies are required to report under EPA's TRI Program. The data includes toxics released at the company's facility and those transported to disposal facilities off site. All manufacturing companies, as well as coal and oil fired power plants, that produce or use above the threshold limit for any chemical are required to participate. Thresholds range from thousands of pounds to 100 or ten pounds for PBTs, down to 0.1 grams for dioxin-like compounds.

The following is a list of Rhode Island's 10 largest on- and off-site emitters of the toxic chemicals. No attempt has been made to adjust the totals to reflect the relative seriousness of the chemicals emitted. It is important to note that these chemical emissions are reported to EPA under the TRI and do not reflect illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment.

Pounds released
Fibermark DSI, Johnston
Kenyon Ind. Inc., Shannock
Facile Holdings Inc., Rumford
Tech. Inds. Inc., Woonsocket
Soluol Chemical Co. Inc., West Warwick
TPI Composites Inc., Warren
Pawtucket Power Associates, Pawtucket
Osram Sylvania Prods. Inc., Central Falls
Cooley Inc., Pawtucket, Providence
Stanley Fastening Sys., East Greenwich

The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. The TRI provides the amount, location and type of release to the environment -- whether a pollutant is emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. It also includes information on waste shipped off-site for disposal or further treatment. The TRI has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention, measures.

TRI information is easily accessible to the news media and to the public. Information is available on-line,, in hard copy and in a variety of computer formats, including CD-ROM. For copies or more information, the public is encouraged to call EPA's toll-free Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Hotline at 1(800) 424-9346.