Introduction to the 2016 TRI National Analysis
Industries and businesses in the United States use chemicals to make the products we depend on, such as pharmaceuticals, computers, paints, clothing, and automobiles. While the majority of chemicals included on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemical list are managed by industrial facilities to minimize releases into the environment, releases do still occur as part of their business operations. It is your right to know what TRI chemicals are being used in your community, how they are managed, how much is released into the environment, and whether such quantities are increasing or decreasing over time.
The TRI is a publicly available database maintained by EPA that tracks the management of certain chemicals. The information contained in the TRI is submitted by U.S. facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report to EPA details about their releases of TRI-listed chemicals for the prior calendar year by July 1. The Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) requires facilities to submit additional information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities of TRI chemicals. For calendar year 2016, more than 21,000 facilities submitted data to TRI.
Each year, EPA prepares and publishes the TRI National Analysis, which summarizes recently submitted TRI data, trends, special topics, and interprets the findings from the perspective of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. The two charts below show: 1) how chemical wastes were managed in 2016; and 2) how the portion of wastes that were disposed of or otherwise released were handled.
Note: Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
Facilities reported managing 27.80 billion pounds of TRI-listed chemicals as production-related waste. This is the quantity of TRI chemicals in waste that is recycled, burned for energy recovery, treated, disposed of, or otherwise released into the environment. In other words, it encompasses the TRI chemicals in waste generated from the production processes and operations of the facilities that reported to TRI.
Of this total, 87% was recycled, burned for energy recovery, or treated. Only 13% was disposed of or otherwise released to the environment.
For chemical wastes that were disposed of or otherwise released, facilities also reported where the wastes were released – to air, water, or land, on-site or off-site. Most waste was disposed of on-site to land (including landfills, other land disposal, and underground injection).
As highlighted in the Releases of Chemicals section, releases to air continued to decline in 2016. Since 2006, air releases reported to TRI decreased by 58% (829 million pounds).
Where are TRI Facilities Located?
Click on any one of the locations on the map to see detailed information.
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This page was published in January 2018 and uses the 2016 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2017.