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Release Date: 5/23/2002
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, 415/947-4306

     California Ranks 27th nationwide

     SAN FRANCISCO   Industries in California reported a 15 percent increase in the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water in the year 2000, according to new data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

     The data comes from the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers and waste generated by facilities in the United States. In California, 1,442 facilities reported 75.6 million pounds of toxic chemical releases, ranking 27th nationwide.

     For the first year, the Toxic Release Inventory includes new data on releases of dioxins and other "persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic" chemicals.  Because these chemicals -- which also include mercury and PCBs -- are toxic, persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains, the EPA lowered their reporting threshholds.  California facilities released a total of 34.5 grams of dioxins into the air in 2000, ranking 23rd nationwide.

     "The Toxic Release Inventory program is intended to inform people what type of chemicals are being manufactured, stored and released in their communities," said EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri. "This year we're including chemicals such as dioxin and mercury to the list of pollutants that must be reported, giving us a much more accurate picture of chemical releases within the state."
     The 2000 data shows that California industries have increased toxic chemical releases 15 percent from 1999.  Total  releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land (including landfills), and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.  Air emissions of toxic chemicals went down by 9 percent, to 23.8 million pounds, but land disposal increased 34 percent primarily due to increased hazardous waste disposal from contaminated site cleanups to 34.4 million pounds.

     "The news for California is mixed: air emissions are down, but water discharges are up," Nastri said.  "We look forward to working with business and and other government agencies to continue lessening the amount of toxic chemicals released into California's air, land and waterways."

     Nationally, there has been a chemical emissions decrease of 48 percent in manufacturing industries about 1.55 billion pounds over the 13-year history of the program.

     Since 1987, manufacturing facilities have been reporting their releases of 650 toxic chemicals and chemical categories under this program.  This marks the third year that seven new industrial categories, including metal mining and electric utilities, were required to report.

     The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. This program has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention measures.

     Fact sheets and additional information on the 2000 TRI data for California are available at http://www.  The following Web sites also provide useful information on TRI:

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