New EPA analysis shows decline in release of certain toxic chemicals in Mid-Atlantic Region
New features improve public access to local data
PHILADELPHIA (March 3, 2022) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis today, which shows that companies that manage chemicals continue to make progress in preventing pollution and reducing chemical releases into the environment.
The report, which shows a nationwide decrease of 10 percent between 2019 and 2020, also shows continued reductions in toxic chemical releases in EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region that includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
This 2020 analysis includes enhancements to make data more useful and accessible to communities, including communities with environmental justice concerns. EPA has added demographic information to the “Where You Live” mapping tool, making it easy to overlay maps of facility locations with maps of overburdened and vulnerable communities. Community groups, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use this information to identify potential exposures to air and water pollution, better understand which communities are experiencing a disproportionate pollution burden and take action at the local level.
To assist communities with reducing pollution, EPA is offering $23 million in grant funding opportunities for states and Tribes to develop and provide businesses with information, training, and tools to help them adopt pollution prevention (P2) practices. For the first time, approximately $14 million in grant funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is available with no cost sharing/matching requirement, increasing access to funding for all communities. These grants are also as a critical component of the President’s Justice40 initiative by providing a meaningful benefit to communities impacted by legacy pollution issues. As such, EPA will administer this program in accordance with this initiative to ensure at least 40% of the benefits are delivered to underserved communities.
“It is encouraging to see a continued decline in release of these toxic chemicals that can impact human health and the environment,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Additionally, it is promising to see that residents throughout the mid-Atlantic Region can use personal computers to get specific data on TRI release data in their communities.”
In 2020, 88 percent of the TRI chemical waste managed at facilities in EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region was recycled and not released into the environment, compared to 54 percent nationally. Facilities in the region reported releasing 4.9 million pounds of TRI chemicals, a 4% decrease from 2019. From 2011 to 2020, releases in the Mid-Atlantic Region decreased by 89 million pounds (43%), driven by reduced air releases from electric utilities and fewer pounds of off-site transfers for disposal from the primary metals sector. For 2020, 6% of Mid-Atlantic facilities reported implementing new source reduction activities. Among the sectors with the highest source reduction reporting rates was the plastics and rubber products manufacturing sector.
In addition to the new community mapping tools, the National Analysis also includes a new map in the data visualization dashboard that displays international transfers of chemical waste by facilities in each state. Additionally, the National Analysis includes a new profile of the cement manufacturing sector and the addition of greenhouse gas reporting information in certain sector profiles. Users will be able to track greenhouse gas emissions for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and other sectors. This section will also include information on the benefits of source reduction in these industries.
To access the 2020 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis.
Thanks to the passage of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 which created EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program, and the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, which expand the program, Americans have greater awareness of how chemicals are being managed in their communities. Today, more than 21,000 facilities report annually on over 800 chemicals they release into the environment or otherwise manage as waste. EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management.