Releases in TRI are classified as either "on-site" or "off-site."
TRI is used to better understand:
For information about Ecology’s work regarding environmental justice and its relationship to TRI, contact Millie Piazza at 360-407-6177.
The data serve as an indicator of environmental progress over time. Federal, state, and local governments have used TRI to set priorities, measure progress, and target areas of special and immediate concern. For example, TRI data are used to measure pollution trends from specific industries. It shows trends of whether industrial pollution is going up or down and helps identify whether reduction targets are being met.
TRI is one indicator used in the Washington Beyond Waste and Toxics Progress Report to track progress toward reducing wastes and toxics.
Large releases at Pend Oreille Mine has significant impact on Washington's total TRI numbers. The Pend Oreille Mine reported large amounts of land releases from 2004 to 2009. As production at the mine decreased, so did Washington's total land releases. The mine stopped operating in early 2009, but reopened in December 2014. TRI releases from the mine have increased each year since 2014 as production from the mine has increased. The mine released 14.8 million pounds of TRI chemicals (mostly zinc compounds) in 2016, nearly half (48.9 percent) of Washington's 30.2 million-pound total.
TRI is one of the most comprehensive environmental data resources available because it does not focus on a single medium (air, land, or water). Even so, TRI has some limitations.
The TRI data cannot be used alone to determine risk. TRI data does not show if or to what degree the public is exposed to listed chemicals. Exposure to a chemical depends on many factors, including whether it was released to air, water, or on land.
TRI chemicals vary widely in toxicity. High quantity releases of less-toxic chemicals might seem to be a more serious problem than lower-quantity releases of highly toxic chemicals. Just the opposite can be true. Dioxins are a good example of a chemical that is highly toxic in small amounts.
TRI data can only provide information about toxic chemicals included on the TRI chemical list for specific industry sectors.
Examples of releases that TRI doesn't include: