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TOXMAP: Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a publicly available database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups as well as federal facilities. This inventory was established under a federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) (http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/lawsregs/epcraover.htm) and was expanded by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 (http://www.epa.gov/oppt/p2home/pubs/p2policy/act1990.htm). It requires facilities in certain industries which manufacture, process, or use significant amounts of toxic chemicals, to report annually on their releases of these chemicals. The reports contain information about the types and amounts of toxic chemicals that are released each year to the air, water, land and by underground injection, as well as information on the quantities of toxic chemicals sent to other facilities for further waste management.

Facilities with ten or more full-time employees that process more than 25,000 pounds in aggregate, or use greater than 10,000 pounds of any one TRI chemical, are required to report releases annually. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (http://www.epa.gov) maintains this information in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) (http://www.epa.gov/tri/). The toxics release files on the National Library of Medicine's® (NLM) Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET®) (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov) come from TRI.

TOXMAP uses the most current, final TRI data available from the EPA. Data submission deadlines, data entry processes, and data quality control and review all influence the actual date of data release by both the EPA and by TOXMAP.

A complete list of the TRI chemicals currently listed in TOXMAP can be found at http://toxmap.nlm.nih.gov/toxmap/main/chemicals.jsp. A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-listed-chemicals.

NOTE: At this time, TOXMAP uses reported on-site releases only. Some TRI chemicals have no reported releases, and so will not appear in the TRI release data or in TOXMAP. All release amounts are reported in pounds except dioxin which is reported in grams.

For more information, see the TRI Fact Sheet (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/trifs.html).
TOXMAP maps the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

TOXMAP uses the most current, final TRI data available from the EPA. Data submission deadlines, data entry processes, and data quality control and review all influence the actual date of data release both by the EPA and by TOXMAP.

Some TRI chemicals have no reported releases, and so will not appear in the TRI release data or in TOXMAP. A complete list of chemicals currently listed in TOXMAP can be found at (http://toxmap.nlm.nih.gov/toxmap/main/chemicals.jsp).

A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-listed-chemicals.
The EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program is a national database that identifies facilities, chemicals manufactured, processed and used at the identified facilities, annual amounts of chemicals released and otherwise managed (on and off site) in waste.

The following information is excerpted from the EPA's "Factors to Consider When Using Toxics Release Inventory Data":

TRI data do not include release information from all sources or from other waste management activities, and all industry sectors and all chemicals are not covered. TRI data report releases and waste management of the chemicals, but do not reflect exposure information of the public to the chemicals. Only facilities meeting specific criteria are required to report.

All data in TRI (chemicals released, release amounts, etc.) is required by law to be self-reported annually, and is not validated by the EPA. In addition, some of the reporting facilities submit estimated data to TRI. (Since different estimation practices are used, the EPA has published estimation guidance for the user.)

TRI release estimates are one resource that can be used to evaluate exposure or calculate potential risks to human health and the environment. However, it is essential to understand that they do not, by themselves, represent risk. The determination of potential risk depends on many factors, including toxicity, chemical fate after release, release location, and population concentrations.
TOXMAP uses the most current, final TRI data available from the EPA. 1987 is the first reporting year of the TRI program, but by industry convention, 1988 is the first year that TRI data is used for analysis. Data submission deadlines, data entry processes, and data quality control and review all influence the actual date of data release.

Prior to the final release of a given TRI release year, EPA at times publishes a preliminary dataset of the upcoming release data. However, TOXMAP does not add a release year until it is final.

A complete list of chemicals currently listed in TOXMAP TRI can be found at http://toxmap.nlm.nih.gov/toxmap/main/chemicals.jsp. A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-listed-chemicals.

NOTE: At this time, TOXMAP uses reported on-site releases only. Some TRI chemicals have no reported releases, and so will not appear in the TRI release data or in TOXMAP.

For more information, see the TRI Fact Sheet.
Overview

TOXMAP plots the location of all TRI facilities and Superfund sites using addresses and coordinates from the EPA Facility Registry System (FRS) (http://www.epa.gov/frs). The location of some of these may appear to be slightly inaccurate, because they are calculated by a geocoding estimation process. General information about the accuracy of locations in TOXMAP can be found in the TOXMAP FAQ "Why are the locations of some TOXMAP facilities slightly inaccurate?"

The following provides more detailed information about the problems with TRI location data, EPA's ongoing efforts to improve it, the limitations of FRS, and location accuracy in TOXMAP today.

Problems with TRI, Limitations of FRS

The EPA recommends use of addresses and coordinates from their Facility Registry System (FRS) (http://www.epa.gov/frs). TOXMAP only plots TRI facilities with defined FRS locations. Corrections to FRS are made year-round by EPA and are incorporated into TOXMAP annually with each year's publicly available data.

This approach avoids many errors in the TRI location data. However, there are also limitations to FRS data, such as in the case of a large facility (tens or hundreds of square miles in area) that reports to multiple EPA programs. Since FRS only uses the "best" of the reported coordinates, a more accurate location for a TRI release could be overlooked (e.g. the street address coordinate is used because it is easily identified as "best", but the TRI release actually takes place miles away).

To report a data error to EPA, please contact EPA.
TOXMAP calculates the "trend," or "on-site release amount change," for a given facility and chemical by comparing the total on-site release amount for the most recent year of TRI data with the average of all previous years.

Specifically, subtract the average total on-site release amount (prior years) from the most recent total on-site release amount (current year). If the value is negative, the trend is downward; if the value is positive, the trend is upward.

TOXMAP's Trends Legend (directly below Trends maps) uses the greatest increase OR decrease of on-site chemical release as both the minimum and the maximum values (left and right sides) of the legend. For this reason, the Trends Legend will always display the same value on each side of the legend bar. The bar is divided into five equal intervals.

HANDLING SPECIAL CASES

1) What if there isn't data for one of the intermediate years?

TOXMAP ignores release values of "N/A". If no release data is provided by a facility, the EPA reports the release as "zero." In these cases, TOXMAP uses "zero" as the release value when calculating the trend.

2) What if there isn't data for the most recent year?

If there is no data for the most recent year, a trend is not calculated. Refer to the map legend for the special map icon that represents this situation ("insufficient data").

3) What if there is only data for the most recent year?

If the only available data is for the most recent year, it is treated as an increase, and the trend value is set to the total on-site release value for the most recent year.

4) What if there are multiple records for a year?

If there are multiple records for a year, the total on-site release values are added together and treated as a single value for that year.

5) What if there are changes to the TRI program that affect a trend calculation?

At this time, TOXMAP's trend calculation does not account for changes to the TRI program's release or waste management data. Therefore, an apparent increase or decrease in on-site releases may actually reflect a change in TRI chemical reporting requirements. We intend to change TOXMAP to take some or all of these reporting requirement changes into account in an upcoming version of TOXMAP.

See the EPA's Making Year-to-Year Comparisons of TRI Data (http://www.epa.gov/enviro/triexplorer/yearsum.htm) for more details.
(This list includes federal government sites only.)

  • TOXMAP
    TOXMAP (http://toxmap.nlm.nih.gov) provides a "Download" option that allows users to download TRI facility, release, and trends data via the Facilities, Releases, Trends, Combo, and Search pages (located on the bar under the main menu). Data is saved locally as a compressed comma-separated text file (.zip). Moreover, users can save their search results via the Download pages, or with the "Save results" links in the map description and map controls. NOTE: At this time, TOXMAP includes reported on-site releases only.

    The user also has the option of downloading the ESRI shapefile, which can be read with ESRI's GIS software such as ArcView (http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcview/index.html).

  • TOXNET®
    TOXNET TRI (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?TRI) allows users to search TRI chemical names, CAS Registry Numbers, TRI data years, and/or details about the releasing facility. The left menu of the "TRI Search Results" page provides a download option for the retrieved TRI data. TOXNET TRI search results can also be mapped with TOXMAP by clicking on the "Map it with TOXMAP" icon located on the upper right of results pages.

  • EPA TRI Explorer
    EPA TRI Explorer (http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/) offers custom reports on Releases, Waste Transfer, and Waste Quantity. Users can view and sort report data online or download it to a text file.

  • EPA Envirofacts
    EPA Envirofacts (http://www.epa.gov/enviro/index.html) provides simple and advanced queries and reports for TRI data. Find them on the right under "Advanced Capabilities".

  • EPA's TRI data site
    EPA's TRI data site (http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/) gives the user different ways to download TRI data:
    • "Annual TRI Public Data Release"-- includes a general overview of that year's TRI data and information on trends;
    • State Fact Sheets (http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm)-- provide a brief summary of the TRI data by state and downloadable data files containing TRI reports submitted for the reporting year;
    • TRI state data files (http://www.epa.gov/tri/tridata/index.htm#statefile)-- contain all data submitted to the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory by facilities located in a selected state for a specific year.
  • US EPA TRI Explorer Dynamic Maps
    EPA TRI Explorer Dynamic Maps (http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/maps.htm) lets the user create reports and color-coded state and county maps of TRI data.

  • US EPA EnviroMapper and MyEnvironment
    EPA EnviroMapper for Envirofacts (http://www.epa.gov/emefdata/em4ef.home) and MyEnvironment (http://www.epa.gov/myenvironment/) both display TRI facility locations along with other locations that report to the US EPA.

  • US Geological Survey (USGS) National Atlas
    The US Geological Survey (USGS) National Atlas (http://www.nationalatlas.gov/) can map TRI facility locations and over 400 other kinds of data.
Once a geographic region has been chosen, map headers will include a link to a "Regional TRI Summary" in the regional description. These summaries show cumulative on-site TRI release data over a period of years.

If your map shows TRI facilities, then the Regional TRI Summary will provide a regional on-site chemical releases table that lists the names and release amounts of chemicals released on-site by facilities in the region (with the greatest total on-site releases listed first).

For a TRI Releases map, the Regional TRI Summary will list on-site release totals of the selected chemical broken down by release medium.

Note that these are cumulative summary data and do not reflect specific search settings such as facility name and release amount threshold.