FOR RELEASE: TUESDAY, MAY 20, 1997
EPA's 1995 TOXICS RELEASE DATA INCLUDES
FIRST-EVER REPORTING ON 286 NEW CHEMICALS
EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner today reported for the first time on toxic-chemical releases into local communities since the Clinton Administration nearly doubled the number of chemicals that industry must make public under EPA's Right-to-Know program.
The new chemicals, collected in the annual Toxics Release Inventory data base, account for 237.7 million pounds -- or 10 percent -- of all reported releases of toxic chemicals into air, land or water. Ninety-four percent of the 286 newly added chemicals have demonstrated chronic health hazards and/or environmental effects, including cancer or reproductive disorders. Also, one of the newly added pollutants -- nitrate compounds -- alone was responsible for nearly 65 percent of all reported water pollution. Primary sources of nitrate compounds are manufacturers of fertilizers.
For the core chemicals reported today for 1995, the most recent year for which these data are available, releases of pollution decreased by 4.9 percent, from 1.75 billion pounds in 1994 to 1.66 billion pounds in 1995. Reported air emissions were down by 88.8 million pounds, or 7 percent; reported discharges to surface water were down 4.1 million, or 10 percent. Releases to land were down by 17 million pounds, or 6 percent. Only underground injection releases increased, by 24.5 million pounds, a 19.5 percent increase.
EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, "Arming the public with basic information about toxic chemicals in their communities is among the most effective, common-sense steps to protect the health of families and children from the threats posed by pollution. Since the inception of the Community Right-to-Know program, reported releases of pollution into communities have declined by 46 percent. That is why the Clinton Administration has consistently expanded the type and amount of information available to the public under the Right-to-Know program."
EPA's annual Toxic Release Inventory requires companies to publicly report quantities of toxic chemicals that their manufacturing facilities annually release into the air, water and land. Currently 643 chemicals are reportable under TRI because they are considered to be among the most toxic of all chemicals. The Clinton Administration in 1994 added 286 of these chemicals to the list, nearly doubling its length. Most recently as part of his Earth Day address, President Clinton announced that EPA added seven new industrial sectors to the TRI program, increasing by about 30 percent the number of industrial facilities required to make public the levels of toxic chemicals they release to the environment.
Although releases of chemical pollution continue to decline, the right-to-know data also show that generation of toxic chemical wastes by American manufacturers continues to increase. In 1995, the volume of toxic waste containing all TRI chemicals, including the new chemicals, was over 35 billion pounds. Since 1991, when EPA first began collecting TRI waste data, there has been a 7 percent increase in waste generation.
"The increase in generation of waste reported continues to underscore the need for more pollution prevention in American manufacturing," said Dr. Lynn Goldman, Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxics.
Information on TRI is available in public libraries or online at www.epa.gov/opptintr/tri or by calling the Hotline number at 1-800-424-9346.
Source: U.S. EPA Press Release
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