POLLUTION LOCATOR | Toxic Chemical Releases |Environmental Release Report

Descriptions of Environmental Release Report Contents
Environmental Release Reports profile the human health hazards of toxic chemicals released by industrial facilities into your community's air and water. They combine data from the most recent U.S. EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) together with authoritative information on the potential health hazards of particular chemicals to show you what chemicals in your area may pose health risks and what companies are responsible.

NOTE: Scorecard reports cover only the pollution from industrial facilities that were required to report to TRI in 2000, and only 650 listed TRI chemicals. The reports do not cover all toxic chemicals and omit many important pollution sources, such as motor vehicles and small businesses.

Scorecard cannot tell you whether the amount of pollution in your own area is safe or unsafe, and it does not calculate the amount of health risk that reported pollution in your area poses. Scorecard tells you which chemical releases in your area might be of potential health concern, based on available data, and helps you identify the highest priorities among those chemical releases.

Map Locating Toxic Chemical Releases
Scorecard's mapper shows you where the polluting facilities are located. You can see on the map how close your home or workplace is to the polluters. The mapper also illustrates important facts about a facility or area with charts showing trends in chemical releases over time.
More about the mapper.

2002 Rankings: Major Chemical Releases or Waste Generation
What does it mean when your local newspaper reports that companies released 10,000 pounds of chemicals to your community? Which companies are responsible for these releases? Scorecard gives you a way to evaluate industrial pollution in your area, by comparing it to such pollution in other areas. Scorecard rankings combine the actual data that companies submit to EPA, showing how many pounds of certain chemicals they release, with information about the potential hazards of those chemicals to human health. Scorecard graphically illustrates how a specific facility or area compares to all facilities or areas in the country, or in a state, for a variety of different categories of pollution. Scorecard uses a thermometer with ten divisions that indicate the decile a facility or area falls in, ranging from cleanest/least polluted (lowest 10% of facilities or areas) to dirtiest/most polluted (worst 10% of facilities or areas).

Environmental Justice Analysis
Inequities in environmental burden can be examined by identifying particular geographic areas and demographic groups that may be disparately affected by pollution.
More on environmental justice.

2002 TRI Pollution Releases Ranked by Ozone Depleting Potential
Chemical pollutants can cause adverse effects in the community where they are released, but they also may cause enviromental damage that is global in scope. Scorecard identifies chemicals that manufacturing companies emit that have the capacity to harm the earth's protective ozone layer. Using a scientific weighting system, Scorecard ranks releases by their
ozone depleting potential in order to focus attention on the greatest threats to the ozone layer.

2002 TRI Pollution Releases Ranked by Potential Human Health Risks
Many different chemicals might be going into a community's air and water from industrial facilities. Which chemicals should be the highest concern and which should get the highest priority for pollution prevention activity to reduce health risks? Scorecard uses a sophisticated
ranking system, which factors in both a chemical's toxicity and its potential for human exposure, to identity the particular chemicals released in your community that are likely to pose the highest cancer and noncancer health risks.

2002 TRI Pollution Releases Sorted by Health Effect
It's not easy to figure out what kinds of health hazards are posed by all the chemicals that companies report they are releasing to your community. Scorecard tracks the
recognized and suspected health effects of all of the chemicals reported in the Toxics Release Inventory. For releases from industrial facilities in your area, you can see how many pounds from each are chemicals that are recognized to cause cancer, or that are suspected of being toxic to the brain and nervous system, or that fall into 10 other categories of specific health effects.

What We Don't Know About Chemical Safety and Harm
It takes information to be able to figure out how safe or harmful any release of chemicals is, and that information is simply not available to the public for many of the chemicals that companies are releasing into your community. Without information on the chemical's toxicity and on people's exposure to it, no scientifically credible claim can be made about the safety of a company's chemical releases into the environment. Scorecard identifies the TRI chemicals that do not have the basic information required for safety assessment, and indicates how much of these chemicals are released to air or water in your community.

TRI Data Summary
If you want to look over the actual numbers on chemical releases that are the basis of every Scorecard report, you can see a summary of all TRI data from 1988 to 2002, in table form, with chemical-specific details available for the most recent year. The summary also indicates whether pollution has been
increasing or decreasing over time and identifies the industrial facilities responsible for an area's chemical releases and waste generation.

Dioxin Compounds Summary
Scorecard breaks out reported releases and waste management practices involving
dioxin compounds. This information is presented separately from other TRI data because reporting is in grams, not pounds. Scorecard also provides detailed breakdowns of the specific dioxin congeners involved whenever this information was reported by facilities. Data on dioxin compounds prior to 2000 are not available.

Take Action
If you are concerned about toxic chemical releases and waste generation in your area, the Environmental Defense encourages you to take action. For facilities that rank in the worst 20% in terms of TRI emissions or waste generation, Environmental Defense is currently providing a free fax service to let you tell these companies your concerns, and request answers to your questions. At your request, a message is sent by fax to the facility at no cost to you, with the facts and figures for that facility already included. You can tailor the message any way you want.

Discussion Forum is the place to air your views, ask questions, or give answers about local chemical pollution, polluters and pollutants. This forum is for discussions about polluting facilities that are profiled in Scorecard, or any other local sources of pollution that concern you. Find out what people are saying about a company, or meet others working on environmental problems in your community.

Scorecard lets you send an email message to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of efforts to improve the Toxics Release Inventory. It also links you to volunteer opportunities and directories of environmental organizations in your area, so you can join with others to work on local toxic chemical problems. And it connects you to information about how to prevent pollution and about the tools other communities have successfully used to reduce pollution.

Facility Information
If you want to contact a industrial plant directly about its chemical releases and waste generation, Scorecard gives you the contact names and phone numbers for the local plant, as the company itself reported them to TRI.

To make it easier to get more information on a facility or geographic area, Scorecard points you to other web sites that provide accessible information about a company's compliance with permits and environmental laws or about environmental quality in an area. If there is information available in online EPA databases, for example, it is rarely more than a click away.