New EPA Toxics Release Inventory Data Show Decline in Releases of Certain Toxic Chemicals

March 7, 2022

Includes new features to make data more accessible to communities

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Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows that companies that manage chemicals continue to make progress in preventing pollution and reducing chemical releases into the environment. The report shows continued reductions in toxic chemical releases in EPA Region 7, and that total releases of TRI chemicals nationwide decreased by 10% from 2019 to 2020.

This 2020 Analysis includes enhancements to make data more useful and accessible to communities, including those with environmental justice concerns. EPA has added demographic information to the “Where You Live” mapping tool, making it easy to overlay maps of facility locations with maps of overburdened and vulnerable communities. Community groups, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use this information to identify potential exposures to air and water pollution, better understand which communities are experiencing a disproportionate pollution burden, and take action at the local level.

To assist communities with reducing pollution, EPA is offering $23 million in grant funding opportunities for states and tribes to develop and provide businesses with information, training and tools to help them adopt pollution prevention (P2) practices. For the first time, approximately $14 million in grant funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is available with no cost-sharing/matching requirement, increasing access to funding for all communities. These grants are also as a critical component of the president’s Justice40 initiative by providing a meaningful benefit to communities impacted by legacy pollution issues. As such, EPA will administer this program, in accordance with this initiative, to ensure at least 40% of the benefits are delivered to underserved communities.

“The TRI Analysis provides valuable and useful information for community pollution prevention practices,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Effective management of toxic chemical waste materials provides a solid foundation for protecting human health and the environment in our communities, especially those overburdened populations near industrial facilities.

In 2020, 87% of the TRI chemical waste managed at facilities in EPA Region 7 was not released into the environment, and was instead managed using preferred practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. Facilities in the region reported releasing 132 million pounds of TRI chemicals, an 8% decrease from 2019. The decrease was driven by reductions in the chemical manufacturing, electric utilities, and petroleum product manufacturing sectors.

From 2011 to 2020, releases in Region 7 decreased by 35.7 million pounds (21%), due primarily to reduced releases from the electric utilities, metal mining, and primary metals sectors. For 2020, 5% of Region 7 facilities reported implementing new source reduction activities.

In addition to the new community mapping tools, the TRI National Analysis also includes a new map in the data visualization dashboard that displays international transfers of chemical waste by facilities in each state. Additionally, the National Analysis includes a new profile of the cement manufacturing sector and the addition of greenhouse gas reporting information in certain sector profiles. Users will be able to track greenhouse gas emissions for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and other sectors. This section will also include information on the benefits of source reduction in these industries.

To access the 2020 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit: www.epa.gov/trinationalanalysis.

Information on facility efforts to reduce TRI chemical releases is available at: www.epa.gov/tri/p2.