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The EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis: Facilities Preventing Pollution

2013 January 18

By Kara Koehrn

Our economy produces goods that we depend on in our daily lives, like pharmaceuticals, clothing and cars. Sometimes during the production of those goods, toxic chemicals are released into the environment. But what can be done? Are these inevitable or is there something businesses can do to reduce or even eliminate their releases?

As Americans, we are empowered with information to help answer these questions through EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). I work for TRI, and my coworkers and I are proud to continue a community-right-to-know tradition at EPA in which TRI provides information to the public about toxic chemical releases to air, water and land right on our website. But now we are going further, highlighting examples of how industry is preventing pollution. Here is just a sample:

  • In 2011, many electric utilities installed scrubbers on their stacks which reduced air releases of hazardous air pollutants, including hydrochloric acid and mercury.
  • In the chemical manufacturing industry, some facilities improved their maintenance and production schedules to reduce toxic chemical releases in 2011. One reported reducing ammonia releases to water (a contributor to eutrophication) after instituting better process control and operator training.
  • A facility in the computer and electronics sector reported that in response to a customer’s demand for lead-free services, it used a lead-free product surface finishing line in 2011, and expects to expand this service to other customers.

Facilities report real-world success stories like these to TRI each year, and we are highlighting them in our annual analysis of TRI data, the TRI National Analysis. We publish this report every year, but EPA employees aren’t the only ones who can analyze TRI data. You can use TRI’s new pollution prevention search tool to see which industrial facilities reported the largest reductions and what measures were most effective in achieving these results. Take a look!

I hope you check out the National Analysis and try the new pollution prevention tool to see what toxic chemicals are being released nationwide and what is being done to help clean up your air, water, and land. After all, it’s your right to know.

About the author: Kara Koehrn joined EPA’s Office of Environment Information in Washington, D.C. in 2009 and is the project leader for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis. She has recently sold her car to take full advantage of public transportation in D.C.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Alexander Alvin permalink
    January 19, 2013

    Great improvement and very advanced working. Thanks for sharing such a great piece of information.

  2. wade permalink
    January 21, 2013

    I only wish we could include “clothing” as one of the 3 items produced by our economy. The fact is that very, very few articles of clothing are produced by our economy here in the USA. Everyone please look at labels on anything from jeans, pants, shirts and coats to sheets and towels. You will be hard pressed to find any of these made in USA. In our little County in SC there were 10 textile plants, now there is only one. We could again put 100′s of thousands of people back to work if we made most of what we wear and sleep on.

  3. rana permalink
    January 22, 2013

    Hi.
    Thanks
    I hope you check out the National Analysis and try the new pollution prevention tool to see what toxic chemicals are being released nationwide and what is being done to help clean up your air, water, and land. After all, it’s your right to know

  4. Carl permalink
    January 30, 2013

    This information greatly helps me a lot. Thanks for your post

  5. Ronald Neely permalink
    January 31, 2013

    Thank you! You often write very interesting articles.

  6. zsa zsa permalink
    August 23, 2013

    Thank you Interesting article and Great information

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