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TRI National Analysis

Introduction to the 2018 TRI National Analysis

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TRI Reporting

Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), facilities must report details about their pollution prevention and waste management activities, including releases, of TRI-listed chemicals for the prior calendar year to EPA by July 1 of each year.

Industries and businesses in the United States (U.S.) 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 in ways that minimize releases into the environment, releases still occur as part of their normal business operations. It is your right to know what TRI chemicals are being used in your community, and how they are managed including how much is released into the environment, and whether such quantities are increasing or decreasing over time.

The TRI tracks the annual management of certain chemicals based on the information reported to EPA by facilities in U.S. industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and hazardous waste management. The data reported to TRI are compiled in a publicly available database maintained by EPA. For calendar year 2018, more than 21,000 facilities submitted TRI data to EPA.

Watch a short video about the TRI Program and your right to know

Each year, EPA prepares and publishes the TRI National Analysis. In support of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment, the TRI National Analysis summarizes recently submitted TRI data, explores data trends, and interprets the findings.

Overview of the 2018 TRI data

The pie charts below summarize the most recent TRI data on: 1) how production-related chemical wastes were managed in 2018; and 2) how the portion of wastes that were disposed of or otherwise released to the environment were handled.

TRI Production Related Waste Managed & Disposal or Other Releases double pie chart

Note: To avoid double counting, the Disposal or Other Releases pie on the right excludes quantities of TRI chemicals that are transferred off site from a TRI-reporting facility and subsequently released on site by a receiving facility that also reports to TRI. Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

  • Facilities reported managing 32.12 billion pounds of TRI-listed chemicals as production-related waste. This is the quantity of TRI chemicals in waste that is recycled, combusted 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 routine production processes and operations at the facilities.
    • Of this total, 88% was recycled, combusted for energy recovery, or treated. Only 12% was disposed of or otherwise released into the environment.
  • For chemical wastes that were disposed of or otherwise released, facilities also reported where the wastes were released—into the air, water, or land (on site or off site). As shown in the pie chart on the right, most waste was disposed of to land, which includes landfills and underground injection, and other land disposal.
  • To view these data in a table and for more information on why the “disposal or other releases” values differ between these two pie charts, see Quick Facts under TRI Data Considerations.

Where are TRI Facilities Located?

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This page was published in February 2020 and uses the 2018 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in November 2019.

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