Making “the Best” Better: Toward a More Useful Method of Reporting Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds

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Courtesy of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On October 29, 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule on reporting releases of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) substances under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).1 This rulemaking was controversial for a host of reasons, not the least of which was EPA’s decision to create the astonishingly low reporting threshold of 0.1 grams for the newly added dioxin and dioxin-like compounds category -- over 10,000 times lower than the next lowest threshold level of 10 pounds. Facilities that inadvertently manufacture dioxin and dioxin-like compounds above the 0.1 gram threshold, through combustion for example, may now be subject to reporting release data and other waste management information for this category of compounds.

In this rulemaking, and as described below, EPA chose an uncommon method of reporting dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, a method that EPA has recently acknowledged is not the “best way.” After years of contemplating a change, EPA is now poised to make the “best way” better.

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