What are the Advantages of TRI Data?
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI)
What is the TRI?
The primary goal of Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) is to provide
information for public regarding presence and release of toxic and hazardous chemicals. For that, EPCRA
requires companies that manufacture, use, and process specific quantities of chemicals must report and
provide notification of toxic chemical inventories and spills or releases.
What are the Advantages of TRI Data?
TRI is an aspect relate to public relations and emergency planning and response. It can give better
understanding for potential risks and help to set priorities to deal with these risks. Also, it can establish
pollution prevention P2 targets, and measure the progress towards these targets.
TRI data are widely used across EPA programs. For example, the National Partnership for Environmental
Priorities, an element of the Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC), uses TRI data to identify facilities
that may present pollution prevention opportunities (U. S. EPA, 2007). EPA also uses TRI data in the
Risk Screening Environmental Indicator (RSEI) tool, which compares toxic chemicals released to the
environment from industrial sources. Using RSEI, you can examine rankings and trends, and set priorities
for further action. Other EPA programs and tools that utilize TRI can be found in reference below (U. S.
Where TRI Information Can be Reached?
TRI is widely available from the U.S. EPA, from state and local environmental and safety agencies, and
in many public libraries. It's also available on web at www.epa.gov/tri. The web site also provides
information for public based on the zip code.
If I am a Manufacturer, What are my Reporting Requirements?
You must report annually, if you represent a firm that fall within the following:
1. You have 10 or more full-time employees.
2. Firms included in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes 20-39 (Table 1), plus seven
"new" sectors first required to report in 1998: metal mining, coal mining, electric utilities,
petroleum bulk terminals, chemicals wholesalers, RCRA commercial hazardous waste treatment,
and solvent recovery.
3. Firms that manufactured or processed quantities exceeding 25000 pounds per year, or that
otherwise used more than 10000 pounds of any designated chemical (without incorporating it into
any product or producing it at the facility).
What is TRI Annual Report Contains?
Each facility has to prepare "Form R" annually (Figure 1). It should contain releases of listed toxic
chemicals, locations, disposal, and chemicals shipped to other locations. The Pollution Prevention Act
(PPA) add new requirements that expanded and made mandatory the source reduction and recycling
information that is also reported for the EPCRA. So it should contain all annual P2 activities such as
source reduction for waste, energy recovery, treatment, and recycle of chemicals. Permits held and name
and contact information are needed as well (Bishop, 2000).
What are the TRI Chemicals?
The current TRI toxic chemical list contains 581 individually listed chemicals and 30 chemical categories
(including 3 delimited categories containing 58 chemicals). If the members of the three delimited
categories are counted as separate chemicals then the total number of chemicals and chemical categories
is 666. For this list see the link on reference (U. S. EPA, 2010a).
What Factors to Consider When Using TRI for P2 Estimation?
1- Toxicity varies among the covered chemicals;
2- The presence of a chemical in the environment must be evaluated along with the potential and
actual exposures and the route of exposures, the chemical’s fate in the environment, and other
factors before any statements can be made about potential risks associated with the chemical or a
3- Some reporters send chemicals off-site in waste to be managed at specialized waste management
facilities that are also reporters. So, double counting must be avoided (U. S. EPA, 2010b).
Is There Any Limitations in TRI Data?
Users of TRI data should know that these data do not show the degree that public had exposed to the
chemicals, it only shows the amounts released or disposed and the waste management practices (U. S.
EPA, 2007). In general several factors can be considered as limitations:
1. Compliance rate for reporting is varied and need more outreach and enforcement activities.
2. TRI does not mandate that the facilities monitor their releases; it only requires the reporting of
estimated data which reduce the accuracy of these data.
3. Form R could be prepared by people with little or no technical background (Harper, 1991). Hence,
accuracy of data is questioned in P2 estimation.
4. TRI only covers a limited number of substances (666 in year 2009 (U. S. EPA, 2009)) of the
thousands of industrial chemicals in use.
Bishop L. Paul. 2000. "Pollution Prevention: Fundamentals and Practice." McGraw Hill, ISBN 0-07366147-3.
Harper, P. D. 1991. “Application of Systems to Measure Pollution Prevention.” Pollution Prevention
Review 1 (1991): 145-53.
U. S. EPA. 2003. “How Are the Toxic Release Inventory Data Used?” Available online
U. S. EPA. 2007. "2007 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Public Data Release Brochure." Available online
U. S. EPA. 2009. "TRI Chemical List." Available online
U. S. EPA. 2010a. "Changes to the TRI List of Toxic Chemicals." Available online
U. S. EPA. 2010b. “The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Factors to Consider When Using TRI Data.”
Available online http://www.epa.gov/tri/triprogram/FactorsToConPDF.pdf (11/23/2010).
Table 1 Standard Industrial
Classification Codes Requiring
Food and Kindred Products
Textile Mill Products
Apparel and Other Textile Products
Lumber and Wood Products
Furniture and Fixtures
Paper and Allied Products
Printing and Publishing
Chemicals and Allied Products
Petroleum and Coal Products
Rubber and Misc. Plastics Products
Leather and Leather Products
Stone, Clay, and Glass Products
Primary Metal Industries
Fabricated Metal Products
Industrial Machinery and Equipment
Electronic and Other Electric Equipment
Instruments and Related Products
Miscellaneous Manufacturing Industries
Figure 1 Form R Used to Report TRI.