US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Analysis Shows Decrease in 2012 Toxic Chemical Releases in Massachusetts


Boston, Mass. -- EPA’s most recent Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data is now available for the reporting year of 2012. In Massachusetts, the reporting data show that overall releases of pollutants to the environment have decreased since the previous reporting year (2011).

TRI information is a key part of EPA’s efforts to provide greater access to environmental information and get information to the public as quickly as possible. TRI reporting provides Americans with vital information about their communities by publishing information on toxic chemical disposals and releases into the air, land and water, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities in neighborhoods across the country.

“People deserve to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their backyards, and what companies are doing to prevent pollution,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By making that information easily accessible through online tools, maps, and reports, TRI is helping protect our health and the environment.”

This was the first year for the reporting of Hydrogen Sulfide. One Massachusetts facility reported less than 500 pounds of total on- and off-site disposal or other releases of hydrogen sulfide for 2012.

During 2012, the latest year for which data are available, approximately 19.2 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 501,393 pounds (decreased by 2.55%). In Massachusetts, 433 facilities reported in 2012 approximately 3.56 million pounds (a decrease of 297,590 pounds (decreased 7.7%)). Approximately 43.2 percent of releases in Massachusetts were emitted to the air during 2012. Approximately 0.7 percent of releases in Massachusetts were released to the land during 2012.

“EPA believes in making accessible, meaningful information available so citizens can be informed about chemicals that may be found in our communities and neighborhoods,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “TRI data is fundamental to helping people protect the health of their families and themselves, and provides communities with valuable information on toxic chemical releases.”

Each year, EPA makes publicly available TRI data reported by industries throughout the United States regarding chemical releases to air, water and land by power plants, manufacturers and other facilities which employ ten or more workers and exceed thresholds for chemicals. Reporting includes information on chemicals released at a company's facility, as well as those transported to disposal facilities off site. TRI data do not reflect the relative toxicity of the chemicals emitted or potential exposure to people living in a community with reported releases. Facilities must report their chemical disposals and releases by July 1 of each year. EPA made the 2012 preliminary TRI dataset available on Oct. 31, 2012.

Reporting under TRI does not indicate illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment. EPA works closely with states to provide regulatory oversight of facilities that generate pollution to the nation’s air, land and water. Effective review and permitting programs work to ensure that the public and the environment are not subjected to unhealthful levels of pollution, even as agencies work to further reduce emissions of chemicals to the environment. Enforcement efforts by EPA and states ensure that facilities that violate their environmental permits are subject to penalties and corrective action. Yearly releases by individual facilities can vary due to factors such as power outages, production variability, lulls in the business cycle, etc., that do not reflect a facility's pollution prevention program(s).

The top ten chemicals released to the environment on- and off-site during 2012 in Massachusetts were:

The ten facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Massachusetts under TRI for 2012 were:

This year, EPA is offering additional information to make the TRI data more meaningful and accessible to all communities. The TRI analysis now highlights toxic disposals and releases to large aquatic ecosystems, selected urban communities, and tribal lands. EPA has improved this year’s TRI national analysis report by adding new information on facility efforts to reduce pollution and by considering whether economic factors could have affected the TRI data. With this report and EPA’s Web-based TRI tools, citizens can access information about the toxic chemical releases into the air, water, and land that occur locally. Finally, EPA’s first mobile application for accessing TRI data, myRTK, is now available in Spanish, as are expanded Spanish translations of national analysis documents and Web pages.

TRI was established in 1986 by the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and later modified by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Together, these laws require facilities in certain industries to report annually on releases, disposal and other waste management activities related to these chemicals. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA and states by multiple industry sectors including manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste facilities.

EPA continues to work closely with the regulated community to ensure that facilities understand and comply with their reporting requirements under TRI and other community right-to-know statutes. EPA will once again hold training workshops throughout the New England region during the spring of 2014. Training sessions will be set up in each state. Further information will be available on our Web site.

More information:

- TRI in Massachusetts Fact Sheet (

- Additional National information on TRI (

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