Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), EPA requires businesses that manufacture, import, process, or use toxic chemicals to report on their activities each year. By July 1, 2014, companies must submit the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) report for each toxic chemical known by the facility to be manufactured, imported, processed, or otherwise used in excess of an applicable threshold quantity during the calendar year.
How Do You “Know”?
The EPA considers you to “know” a chemical listed in 40 CFR 372.65 is present if:
- You know or have been told the chemical identity or Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) number, or
- You have been told by the supplier that the product contains a toxic chemical.
Businesses that manufacture and sell mixtures or trade name products containing toxic chemicals are required by 40 CFR 372.45 to notify their customers of potential risk. The notification must include a statement that the product contains a toxic chemical or chemicals, the name and CAS # of each chemical, and how much of each toxic chemical is in the product.
What Are the Thresholds?
The thresholds for TRI reporting vary based on how businesses use the toxic chemicals. If you manufacture, import, or process a toxic chemical, reporting is required if 25,000 pounds or more were manufactured, imported, or processed during the calendar year.
For chemicals that are otherwise used (used in any manner that does not meet the definitions of “manufacture” or “process”), reporting is required if 10,000 pounds or more were used during the calendar year.
For example, if a listed toxic chemical is a common ingredient in paint, the person who actually produces the substance or imports the substance into the US would be required to consider the 25,000-pound manufacturing threshold. The person who makes the paint would have to use the 25,000-pound “processing” threshold. The person who uses the paint must consider if there is enough paint to exceed the 10,000-pound “otherwise used” threshold.
For “chemicals of special concern,” a smaller group of chemicals listed at 40 CFR 372.28, the reporting thresholds are significantly lower. The concern with these chemicals is that they are persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic (PBT), meaning they do not break down very easily and have a tendency to build up in an organism over time (or move up the food chain) with ultimately toxic/poisonous effects.
Who Must Report?
Designated facilities must complete the Form R for any toxic chemicals for which they have exceeded the appropriate thresholds.
Designated facilities are:
- In SIC codes 10, 12, 20-39, 4911, 4931, 4939, 4953, 5169, 5171 and 7389;
- All Federal agencies (per Executive Order 13148, issued April 22, 2000); and
- Businesses with 10 or more full time employees (or the equivalent hours worked). [40 CFR 372.22]
How Do I Report?
Reporting for the Toxic Release Inventory must be done using the Form R (EPA Form 9350-1). Except for trade secrets, electronic submission of the TRI is mandated, by use of the EPA’s TRI-MEweb application. More information about the TRI-MEweb electronic reporting application can be found here.
The goal of the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory is to provide information to the public about the toxic chemicals present in their environment and the products they buy. The TRI covers more than 650 chemicals and has collected information from more than 53,000 US facilities since its development in 1986, following the Bhopal, India industrial disaster.
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