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NEW TOXIC RELEASE INVENTORY DATA NOW AVAILABLE


SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released
the 1998 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data, the national community right-to-
know update which for the first time reports on seven new industrial categories,
including metal and coal mining, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste
treatment, solvent recovery services, petroleum bulk stations and chemical
wholesalers.
 
     The EPA's TRI is an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers,
and waste generated by facilities throughout the United States.  Facilities are
also required to report on pollution prevention activities and chemical
recycling.  Based on the premise that people have a right to know about toxic
chemical releases in their neighborhoods, EPA collects industry reports and
publishes the data through a range of public information resources.  These
reports put information about industrial facilities into the hands of people
that live and work nearby.
 
     "TRI is a powerful tool for people in understanding the sources of toxic
releases where they live and work," said Felicia Marcus, EPA's regional
director. "People have a right to know what is released into the air, land and
water in their neighborhoods."
 
Chemical releases from the original manufacturing industries decline in
California and Hawaii, and increase in Nevada and Arizona
 
    The manufacturing industries have been reporting their toxic releases since
1987 and federal facilities started reporting in 1995.  These industries range
from chemical manufacturers to smelters to paper mills.
 
     Nationally, the reported data have shown significant decreases in toxic
releases over the last two years.  In the Pacific Southwest, the same trend was
especially pronounced in California and Hawaii.  "Toxic releases in California
and Hawaii have plummeted over the last decade," said Felicia Marcus, EPA's
regional administrator.  "These reductions are great news for communities and
represent continuing innovation on the part of facilities."
 
     In California, reported releases from the manufacturing industries have
fallen 75 percent over the last decade with a 22 percent decrease between 1995
and 1998.  In 1998, 1,376 California manufacturers reported 40.4 million pounds
of releases.
 
     In Hawaii, reported releases from the manufacturing sector fell 64 percent
in the last decade with a 34 percent decrease in the last three years.  Fourteen
facilities from this sector reported 419,000 pounds of releases in 1998.
 
     Manufacturing releases have increased in Nevada by seven percent in the
last three years and by 56 percent over the last 10 years.  In 1998, 52
facilities reported 4.2 million pounds of releases in Nevada.
 
     In Arizona, it is difficult to evaluate trends in releases from the
manufacturing sector because activities at a single smelter have had a dramatic
impact on the total releases.  For example, between 1995 and 1998, releases in
Arizona increased by 34 percent.  However, over 85 percent of the total releases
from the manufacturing sector are from a single smelter, the Asarco Ray Complex
in Hayden.  If that facility were not included in the total, Arizona releases
would decrease by 34 percent.
 
Mining, hazardous waste disposal and electricity generation top the list in the
new industries
 
     The addition of the new industry sectors to the community right-to-know
database has expanded public access to toxics data and given communities a tool
for improving their health and environment.  In the EPA's pacific southwest
region, these new industries now account for most of the releases to the air,
water and land.
 
     "It is important to take a separate look at releases from the six newly
added industries," said Marcus.  "Each pound is not necessarily alike.  For
example, a chemical released from waste rock is fundamentally different from a
release through a smokestack, but each has important environmental consequences
to be aware of."
 
     Of the new industries, mining has the highest level of releases in the
southwestern states, largely from metals in waste rock as the mines move large
amounts of earth to reach the ore.  The second largest industry is hazardous
waste disposal.  Most of the waste from this sector is contained in federally
regulated landfills.  The third largest industry is electricity generation from
coal and oil burning facilities.  About half these releases were to the air and
half to the land.
 
     In Arizona, 39 newly reporting facilities account for 1.105 billion pounds
of toxic releases in 1998.  Over 90 percent of these releases are from thirteen
metal mines, which reported one billion pounds of on-site land releases and
585,000 pounds of air emissions.  The second largest new industrial sector,
electricity generation, reported 9.5 million pounds of releases.
 
     In California, 123 newly reporting facilities account for 30.3 million
pounds of toxic releases in 1998.  Of the new sectors, hazardous waste disposal
and solvent recovery services account for the largest share.  Sixteen facilities
reported nearly 20.3 million pounds of releases.  Ninety- seven percent of these
releases went to landfills.  Metal mining  was the second largest new industry,
with eight facilities reporting 8.8 million pounds of releases.
 
     In Hawaii, 15 facilities reporting for the first time identified 3.2
million pounds of releases in 1998.  The largest new sector is electricity
generation. Ten electricity generators reported 3.1 million pounds of releases.
Nearly all of these releases were to air.  The second largest sector is
petroleum bulk terminals.  Five petroleum bulk terminals reported 56,000 pounds
of releases, all to the air.
 
     In Nevada, 43 newly reporting facilities identified 1.268 billion pounds of
releases.   The largest sector is metal mining with 36 mines reporting 1.26
billion pounds, nearly all to the land.  Electricity generation is the second
most significant new industry.  The four electric generating facilities in the
state reported releases totaling 2.9 million pounds.
 
     Fact sheets and additional information on 1998 TRI data for Arizona,
California, Hawaii and Nevada will be available today on the Web at
http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri .  Hard copies are available at EPA's
public information center by calling 415-744-1500.

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