EPA Releases 2020 TRI National Analysis

In March 2022, EPA released the 2020 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, showing a decline of 10% for environmental releases of TRI chemicals from the previous year.  EPA states that part of the reason for making the information public is to incentivize companies to reduce pollution.  EPA is also offering $23 million in grants to states and Tribes for developing and providing businesses with aid in adopting pollution prevention practices.

The National Analysis now includes a map information for individuals to display international transfers of chemical waste by different facilities. This information includes the facility that shipped the waste, country of destination, and how the country managed the waste.  Along with these data, users can view greenhouse gas emissions for electric utilities, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and other industrial sectors.  The mapping tool also provides data for local communities within each state.

Facilities in the 2020 TRI National Analysis used recycling, energy recovery, and treatment as methods to prevent the release of more than 89 percent of the chemical-containing waste that they created and managed. Air pollution was also decreased by 52 million pounds from YEAR.  EPA encourages facilities to use the Agency’s Pollution Prevention Search Tool to discover additional methods of reducing pollution.

The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act added 172 PFAS to the list of TRI reportable substances.  The 2020 National Analysis was the first to cover reporting of these chemicals.  Nine thousand pounds of the 800,000 pounds of PFAS that were produced in 2020 were reported as releases, with most of the releases coming from the chemical manufacturing sector.  EPA continues to focus on PFAS by contacting facilities that may have reporting errors and those that did not report but were expected to. EPA plans to propose a rulemaking in the summer of 2022 to remove the de minimis exemption for PFAS, which allows facilities to disregard certain minimal concentrations of chemicals. EPA expects the removal of the de minimis exemption will result in more data on releases in future TRI reporting for an expanded perspective on the releases these substances.