Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog

EPA marks the 35th anniversary of Toxics Release Inventory and proposes to list additional chemicals

Posted by Jon Elliott on Mon, Nov 01, 2021


October 17 was the 35th anniversary of the enactment of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA, also referred to as SARA Title III). EPCRA presents several separate programs, including release prevention and reporting for a fairly short list of extremely hazardous substances (which I discussed HERE), inventory reporting for most hazardous materials (which I discussed HERE), and filing of annual toxic chemical release inventory reports with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state, on one of two forms (Form R or Form A) – usually called the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program (which I’ve discussed several times, including HERE).

EPA is celebrating the TRI program anniversary on its website. Meanwhile, the agency has also proposed to add an additional dozen chemicals to the TRI reporting list. The reminder of this note summarizes these activities.

What aspects of TRI is EPA emphasizing?

As I explained in the note referenced above, TRI requires information reporting rather than restricting emissions. Subject facilities file annual reports, and EPA assembles facility-level, regionalized and nationwide data on the agency’s website, where anyone with web access can review and download. TRI was designed with the assumption that the publicity associated with emissions would provide facilities incentives to reduce their emissions in order to tell better stories about their management of toxics (or even to avoid reporting altogether by reducing emissions below applicable reporting thresholds. Reported releases have indeed fallen over time, lending credibility to this basic assumption; for chemicals and facility types that have been subject to TRI throughout the 35 years, reported emissions are less than half what they were initially. EPA’s anniversary information emphasizes these elements – pollution prevention and public transparency.

What toxics is EPA proposing to add to TRI reporting requirements?

On October 18, EPA published in the Federal Register a proposal to add 12 chemicals to the TRI lists, including proposed reporting thresholds. These chemicals (and their Chemical Abstracts Services (CAS) numbers) are:

  • Dibutyltin dichloride (683–18–1)

  • 1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol (96–23–1)

  • Formamide (75–12–7)

  • 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta[g]-2-benzopyran (1222–05–5)

  • N-Hydroxyethylethylenediamine (111–41–1)

  • Nitrilotriacetic acid trisodium salt (5064–31–3)

  • p-(1,1,3,3-Tetramethylbutyl)phenol (140–66–9)

  • 1,2,3-Trichlorobenzene (87–61–6)

  • Triglycidyl isocyanurate (2451–62–9)

  • Tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (115–96–8)

  • Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (13674–87–8)

  • Tris(dimethylphenol) phosphate (25155–23–1)

This list is drawn from a petition filed in 2014 by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus. The petition asked EPA to list 25 chemicals. EPA notes that 3 have been listed through other actions during the intervening seven years, and has determined not to list the other ten. EPA is proposing that all but one will be subject to standard TRI reporting thresholds of 25000 pounds manufactured or processed in a calendar reporting year, or 10000 “otherwise used” during a reporting year. EPA is proposing to list 1,3,4,6,7,8-Hexahydro-4,6,6,7,8,8-hexamethylcyclopenta[g]-2- benzopyran as a “Persistent, Bioaccumulative or Toxic (PBT)” chemical subject to a 100 pound/year reporting threshold. EPA’s proposal provides the history of this petition process, and technical references to scientific and health studies that support the agency’s determinations.

What happens next?

The Federal Register notice request comments on the proposal, due no later than December 17, 2021. Although EPA has not provided itself a deadline for responding to comments with final rules, I anticipate this will happen sometime during 2022. The proposal includes an effective date of January 1, 2023, which if unchanged would mean that facilities would be required to collect 2023 data and provide them in reports due July 1, 2024.

Self-Evaluation checklist

Do any of the organization’s facilities manufacture or otherwise use any listed TRI chemical, including separately listed PBT chemicals, in an annual total quantity that exceeds threshold quantities?

If so, has each such facility prepare and submitted information to EP:

-  Using Form R

-  Using Form A

Do any of the organization’s facilities manufacture or otherwise use any chemical that EPA is presently proposing to add to TRI reporting requirements, in an annual total quantity that exceeds threshold quantities?

If so, does the organization collect information about quantities manufactured, processed or otherwise used at each facility that would be required to report?

Where Can I Go For More Information?

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About the Author

Jon Elliott is President of Touchstone Environmental and has been a major contributor to STP’s product range for over 30 years. 

Mr. Elliott has a diverse educational background. In addition to his Juris Doctor (University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1981), he holds a Master of Public Policy (Goldman School of Public Policy [GSPP], UC Berkeley, 1980), and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Princeton University, 1977).

Mr. Elliott is active in professional and community organizations. In addition, he is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the GSPP Alumni Association, and past member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar of California's Environmental Law Section (including past chair of its Legislative Committee).

You may contact Mr. Elliott directly at:

Tags: EPA, Environment, Toxic, Toxics Release, TRI