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Release Date: 5/13/1999
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, (415) 744-1588

     SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the most recent Community Right-To-Know information under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), representing nearly a decade of reporting to the public on industrial releases of toxic chemicals into the environment. The latest report includes the data from 1997.

     The data show that since 1988, when reporting began, total releases decreased by almost 43 percent. In 1997, toxic air emissions continued to decline. Also in 1997, overall releases were up slightly for the first time with an increase of 2.2 percent. This slight increase is largely due to a shift by a number of facilities that did not send metal wastes to recycling facilities, but used other disposal methods, like landfills, because of cost fluctuations in the recycling market. The analysis also indicates that due to subsequent changes in the price structure between recycling and other waste management options, there may be a shift back to recycling these metals during the 1998 and 1999 reporting years.

     "TRI is a powerful tool for people in understanding the sources of toxic releases where they live and work," said Felicia Marcus, EPA's regional director. "People have a right to know what is released into the air, land and water in their neighborhoods."

     EPA's TRI is an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers, and waste generated by manufacturing facilities in communities throughout the United States.  In 1997 about 21,000 companies reported the quantities of 644 chemicals that their manufacturing facilities annually released into the air, water and land.  Facilities are also required to report on pollution prevention activities and chemical recycling.  Based on the premise that people have a right to know about toxic chemical releases in their neighborhoods, EPA collects industry reports and publishes the data through a range of public information resources.

     The TRI recently expanded the list of regulated industries to cover seven new industry sectors:  metal and coal mining, electricity generating facilities, commercial hazardous waste treatment, chemical wholesalers, petroleum bulk terminals and solvent recovery services.  These facilities are required to submit toxic release information starting in July 1999.    
     Regional TRI figures are as follows:

     California ranked 21st in the nation for toxic chemical releases to the environment. In 1997, 1,378 facilities reported releases of 45.2 million pounds toxic chemicals, down from 52.2 million pounds in 1996. Releases to the air accounted for 69 percent of California's releases.  The top five facilities for releases to the environment are:  Quemetco Inc., City of Industry, with 2.6 million pounds released; Louisiana-Pacific Corp., Samoa, 1.8 million pounds; Foster Farms, Merced, 1.8 million pounds; Exxon Co., Benicia, 1.5 million pounds; and Chevron USA Products, El Segundo, 1.4 million pounds.  

     Arizona ranked 27th in the country for toxic releases.  In 1997, 205 facilities reported 31.4 million pounds of toxic releases, down from 47.4 million pounds in 1996.  The top two facilities for releases to the environment account for 82 percent of Arizona's releases.  The top five facilities for releases to the environment are: Cyprus Miami Mining Corp., Claypool, 19.4 million pounds of releases;  BHP Copper Metals Co., San Manuel, 6.4 million pounds; Stone Container Corp., Snowflake, 2.2 million pounds; ASARCO Inc., Hayden, 827,000 pounds; and Sea Ray Boats Inc., Phoenix, 202,000 pounds.
     Nevada ranked 44th in the country for toxic releases. In 1997, 51 facilities reported 4.4 million pounds of toxic releases, up from 3.8 million pounds in 1996.  This increase is attributed to several new facilities which began or expanded manufacturing in Nevada during 1997.  About two-thirds of these releases are to land and one-third to air.  The top five facilities for releases to the environment released 90 percent of the State's total.  These facilities are: Kerr McGee Chemical Corp., Henderson, 2.6 million pounds of releases; R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., Reno, 624,000 pounds; Tomkins Industries Inc., Moapa, 435,000 pounds; Coastal Chemical Inc., Battle Mountain, 240,000 pounds; and Nevada Refining Kennamental, Fallon, 170,000 pounds.

     Hawaii ranked 52nd in the country for toxic chemical releases. In 1997, 14 facilities reported 452,000  of toxic chemical releases, down from 540,000 pounds reported in 1996. About 90 percent of these releases are to air.  The top five facilities for releases to the environment released 99 percent of the State's total.  These facilities are: Chevron Products Co., Kapolei, 205,000 pounds of releases; Reynolds Metals Co., Kapolei, 126,000 pounds; Tesoro Hawaii Corp., Kapolei, 57,000 pounds; Maui Pineapple Co., Kahului,  30,000 pounds; and the U.S. Navy, Pearl Harbor, 29,000 pounds.  

     TRI data can be obtained through EPA Envirofacts Homepage at: and a site operated by a non-profit organization called the Right-to-Know Network (  A brochure entitled "A Citizen's Guide to Reducing Toxic Risks--Using the Toxics Release Inventory," can be obtained at:  Information on TRI is also available in public libraries or at: or by calling the EPA Hotline at 1-800-424-9346.
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