US toxic chemical releases show year-on-year decline – EPA

04 February 2014 18:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Total releases of toxic chemicals in the US decreased 12% in 2012 compared with 2011, driven by reductions in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions and decreases in on-site land disposal by the metal mining sector, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report released Tuesday.

The 21,024 facilities reporting to the TRI program disposed of or otherwise released 3.63bn lbs (1.65m tonnes) of reportable chemicals in 2012. Of those releases, 61% were to land on-site, 21% were to air on-site, 6% were to water on-site and 12% were off-site disposals.

Releases to surface water decreased 3%, to air decreased 8% and to land decreased 16% between 2011 and 2012. Disposal or other releases of TRI chemicals has declined 19% since 2003, the EPA said.

The TRI program collected and included data on hydrogen sulphide for the first time in 2012. Although added to the list of reportable chemicals in 1993, a stay was issued by the EPA from 1994-2011 while the agency further evaluated the chemical.

The report lists 25.8m lbs of hydrogen sulphide being disposed or released in 2012, mainly to air from paper, petroleum and chemical manufacturing facilities.

“People deserve to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their backyards and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release. “By making that information easily accessible through online tools, maps and reports, TRI is helping protect our health and the environment.”

The 2012 report includes new analyses and interactive maps for US metropolitan areas on reported chemical releases. Data for the report are submitted to the EPA by 1 July of each year from facilities in 26 industries. Many of the releases from facilities subject to TRI reporting are regulated under other EPA programme requirements designed to limit harm to human health and the environment.

The report also includes information on waste management and pollution prevention activities at US facilities. An expanded search tool, TRI Pollution Prevention (P2), allows users to compare facilities within the same industry to help identify effective environmental practices.

In the 2012 report, 3,152 facilities voluntarily reported initiating 10,250 source reduction activities. Most frequently reported were good operating practices and process modifications.


By: Jessie Waldheim
713-525-2653



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