On Feb. 21, EPA released its 2006 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) to provide information on toxic chemicals used and released by utilities, refineries, chemical manufacturers, paper companies and other facilities. The data shows that nationwide, chemical releases into the environment were down 2 percent from 2005.
The 2006 TRI data reveals that facilities in the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., released a total of 382.1 million pounds of chemicals both on and off site in 2006, a .03 percent decrease from the 383.3 million pounds released in 2005. When compared with the 464.7 million pounds released in 2000, the 2006 figures represent a 17.8 percent reduction in toxic pollutants released by facilities in the region. Process modifications, raw material substitution and pollution control equipment contributed to this decrease.
On a national level, total releases from 2001 to 2006 decreased by 24 percent. The TRI data includes releases and other wastes from more than 650 chemicals and chemical compounds that were released at companies' facilities as well as those transported to off-site disposal facilities.