How accurate is TRI data?

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.

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 28045-1773
  • Date Created: 03/02/2017
  • Last Modified Since: 03/06/2018
  • Viewed: 8