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Release Date: 01/08/2001
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took action today to dramatically expand the information available to the public about lead emissions in their communities.

“Expanding the public’s right to know information is one of the best tools for protecting the health of our communities. Today’s action is another step in the Clinton Administration’s efforts to combat lead poisoning by ensuring that the public has access to critical information about toxic chemicals in their neighborhoods,” said Administrator Carol M. Browner. “Children’s exposure to lead is still a great cause of concern in America. Childhood lead poisoning still adversely affects the health of almost one million children a year in this country.”

The new rule will require significantly more reporting of environmental releases of lead under EPA’s public right-to-know program, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The reporting threshold previously required that facilities report lead and lead compound emissions to the air, water and land if they manufacture or process more than 25,000 pounds annually or use more than 10,000 pounds annually. That reporting threshold now will be lowered to 100 pounds or more annually for each facility emitting lead and lead compounds. The TRI is an annual collection of data on toxic emissions that is made available to the public through several sources, including the Internet at:

Young children and developing fetuses are known to absorb lead more readily than adults. Once in the body, lead is distributed to the blood, soft tissue, and bone. Lead exposure can lead to damage to the brain and central nervous system, slow growth, hyperactivity and learning problems. Adults exposed to lead can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nervous disorders, and memory and concentration problems.

The new requirements for lead and lead compound emissions will apply to 2001 emissions. The reports on those emissions will be submitted in 2002.

The rule announced today is part of the Agency’s effort to better educate the public about toxic chemicals—particularly persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals. Such chemicals are of significant concern, not only because of their toxicity, but also because they persist in the environment for long periods of time and build up or accumulate in body tissue.

Under the Clinton Administration, TRI requirements have been dramatically expanded. In 1994, the Agency nearly doubled the number of toxic chemicals which must be reported under TRI, and in 1997 seven new industries were required to report their releases. This brought the total reported releases for 1998 to 7.3 billion pounds—nearly triple the number reported prior to 1998.

Toxic chemical emissions data reports are required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. EPA issues an annual report on the collected TRI data as part of the Agency’s continuing effort to provide access to toxic chemical releases information.

A broad description of the TRI program including chemicals and relevant industry sectors, guidance in reporting and other information is available at: Questions about TRI reporting can be directed to the hotline at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9877.

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