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Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

Lifting of Administrative Stay for Hydrogen Sulfide

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Rule Summary

EPA has lifted the Administrative Stay of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide can reasonably be anticipated to cause chronic health effects in humans and can reasonably be anticipated to cause, because of its toxicity, significant adverse effects in aquatic organisms.

Hydrogen sulfide was added to the TRI list of toxic chemicals in a final rule published on December 1, 1993. On August 22, 1994, EPA suspended the TRI reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide in order to address issues that were raised by members of the regulated community regarding the information used to support the original listing decision. 

Because of the Administrative Stay, facilities have not been required to file annual TRI reports for hydrogen sulfide. By finalizing the lifting of the stay, communities will have additional information about this toxic chemical. 

Rule History

Hydrogen sulfide was added to the TRI list of toxic chemicals in a final rule published on December 1, 1993. On August 22, 1994, EPA issued an Administrative Stay of the reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide in order to evaluate issues brought to the Agency's attention after promulgation of the final rule. These issues concerned the human health effect basis for the listing and the Agency's use of exposure analyses in TRI listing decisions.

On February 26, 2010, EPA published a Federal Register document that provided the public with the opportunity to comment on EPA's review of the currently available data on the human health and environmental effects of hydrogen sulfide and EPA's belief that the Administrative Stay should be lifted based on those data. In addition, the document addressed the concerns raised regarding use of exposure analyses in TRI listing decisions.

EPA noted that after consideration of comments received, the Agency would issue another Federal Register document responding to comments and taking appropriate action. 

Basis for Lifting the Administrative Stay

EPA's technical evaluation concluded that hydrogen sulfide can reasonably be anticipated to cause chronic health effects in humans and can reasonably be anticipated to cause, because of its toxicity, significant adverse effects in aquatic organisms. In addition, EPA does not believe that an exposure assessment is appropriate for determining whether hydrogen sulfide meets the TRI listing criteria for chronic human health effects or environmental effects. Based on these findings, EPA has determined that there is no basis for continuing the Administrative Stay of the reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide, and that the Administrative Stay should therefore be lifted.

By this action, EPA did not revisit the original listing decision. Rather, EPA merely presented its rationale for why the Administrative Stay of the reporting requirements for hydrogen sulfide should be lifted.

Sources of Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in crude petroleum, natural gas, volcanic gases, and hot springs. It can also result from the breakdown of organic matter, and is produced by human and animal wastes. Hydrogen sulfide can also result from industrial activities, such as food processing, coke ovens, kraft paper mills, tanneries, and petroleum refineries. Individuals living near a wastewater treatment plant, a gas and oil drilling operation, a farm with manure storage or livestock confinement facilities, or a landfill may be exposed to higher levels of hydrogen sulfide.  

Additional Resources

Final notice (PDF)(16 pp, 217 K, About PDF)
Notice announcing opportunity for public comment (PDF)(6pp, 164 K, About PDF)
Correction notice (PDF)(1 pp, 137 K, About PDF)

Compliance

Beginning with the 2012 reporting year (reports due July 1, 2013), the Administrative Stay is lifted and facilities are required to submit TRI reporting forms for hydrogen sulfide.