Toxic Release Inventory:
Tracking pollution in your community

The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) is a database of information about releases and transfers of toxic chemicals from manufacturing facilities. Facilities must report their releases of a toxic chemical to TRI if they fulfill four criteria:

  • They must be a manufacturing facility (primary SIC code in 20-39) or in one of a number of non-manufacutring industries added for the 1998 reporting year
  • They must have the equivalent of 10 full-time workers
  • They must either manufacture or process more than 25,000 lbs of the chemical or use more than 10,000 lbs during the year (unless the chemical s a "PBT", see below
  • The chemical must be on the TRI list of over 600 specific toxic chemicals or chemical categories

Therefore, not all, or even most, pollution is reported in TRI. However, TRI does have certain advantages:

  • It is multi-media. Facilities must report the amounts they release to air, land, water, and underground separately, and must report how much they send off-site;
  • All quantities are reported in pounds. This is an advantage compared to databases like PCS, which often report releases as concentrations, or other databases which report releases by volume of waste. These measures are often impossible to convert into pounds;
  • It is congressionally mandated to be publicly available, by electronic and other means, to everyone.

This means that it's relatively easy to obtain TRI data and that the data is well-known, becoming a national "yardstick" for measuring progress in pollution and waste generation.

Click to find out the Toxic Release Inventory in your area.


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