Frequent Questions

Changes to the TRI Program

How has TRI changed over time? 

In 1987, when Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) §313 of the Act included manufacturing sector facilities (SIC codes 20-39) to report releases of more than 300 chemicals and chemical categories in the “TRI Chemical List.” Data coverage was initially confined to information on releases and certain transfers off-site for further waste management.

Passage of the Pollution Prevention Act in 1990 expanded TRI to include additional information on toxic chemicals in waste and also on source reduction methods. Beginning in 1991, covered facilities were required to report quantities of TRI chemicals recycled, combusted for energy recovery, and treated on- and off-site. Over time, EPA has expanded TRI to cover more industrial sectors and chemicals than were originally included.

Chemical Expansion

The original TRI chemical list combined two existing lists:  the New Jersey Environmental Hazardous Substance List and the Maryland Chemical Inventory Report List. Over time, through EPA’s petition process, the original list has been modified as the Agency responded to petitions to add and delete chemicals, given the law’s toxicity listing criteria. These criteria focus on both acute and chronic health effects as well as environmental effects, as outlined in EPCRA §313(d).

The first chemical expansion occurred in 1993 with the addition of certain chemicals that appear on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (58 FR 63500) list of hazardous wastes and certain hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) (58 FR 63496) to EPCRA §313.

The second expansion was the addition of 286 chemicals and chemical categories on November 30, 1994 (59 FR 61432). The additional chemicals can be characterized as high or moderately high in toxicity, and currently manufactured, processed or otherwise used in the United States. Many are high production volume (HPV) chemicals. This list expansion raised the number of chemicals and chemical categories reported to TRI to more than 600. Specifically, the rule added more than 150 pesticides, certain Clean Air Act chemicals, certain Clean Water Act priority pollutants, and certain Safe Drinking Water Act chemicals. Many of the chemicals are carcinogens, reproductive toxicants, or developmental toxicants. Of particular note is the addition of industrial chemicals such as diisocyanates, n-hexane, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, and chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic compounds that result from the combustion of fuels.

Facility Expansion

When EPCRA was first enacted, the TRI Program focused on the releases and other waste management activities of the manufacturing sector – facilities in SIC codes 20-39. To provide the public with a more complete picture of the toxics in their community, EPA undertook a detailed examination of non-manufacturing industries to determine which may be significant generators of toxic chemical releases and other wastes. This effort focused particular attention on sectors linked to manufacturing – those providing energy, further managing products, or further managing waste from the manufacturing sector.

On May 1, 1997, EPA published a final rule (62 FR 23834) adding seven industry sectors to TRI:  metal mining, coal mining, electrical utilities that combust coal and/or oil, hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities, chemical wholesale distributors, petroleum bulk stations and terminals, and solvent recovery services.

Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals (PBTs)

Beginning with Reporting Year 2000, lower reporting thresholds were applied to TRI facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use certain PBT chemicals. Also, additional PBT chemicals that TRI had not previously covered were added to the section 313 toxic chemical list. These new reporting requirements were issued on October 29, 1999 (64 FR 58666) and on January 17, 2001 (66 FR 4500) for lead and lead compounds.

PBT chemicals include substances such as mercury, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), already on the TRI list, and dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, which were among the chemicals added for Reporting Year 2000. The PBT chemicals are of particular concern not only because they are toxic, but also because they remain in the environment for long periods of time and are not readily destroyed (i.e., they are persistent), and build up or accumulate in body tissue (i.e., they bioaccumulate). Relatively small releases of PBT chemicals can pose human and environmental health threats. Consequently, these chemicals warrant recognition by communities as potential health threats and information about their releases and other waste management activities need to be captured by the TRI. Under the existing thresholds of 25,000 pounds for manufacturing or processing of a listed chemical and 10,000 pounds for otherwise using a listed chemical, important information on the releases and other waste management activities of the PBT chemicals were not reported.

In the October 1999 PBT chemical rulemaking, EPA created three new thresholds for PBT chemicals: 10 pounds for certain highly persistent, highly bioaccumulative toxic chemicals, 100 pounds for other PBT chemicals, and a special threshold of 0.1 grams for dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals. The threshold for a PBT chemical is the same for manufacturing, processing, or otherwise use (i.e., either 100 pounds or 10 pounds or 0.1 grams for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds). In addition to the chemical category of dioxin and dioxin-like compounds (a total of 17 substances), six other PBT chemicals were added to TRI: benzo(g,h,i)perylene, benzo(j,k)fluorine (fluoranthene) (as part of the PACs category), 3-methylcholanthrene (as part of the PACs category), octachlorostyrene, pentachlorobenzene, and tetrabromobisphenol A. In addition, new reporting thresholds were applied to the following PBT chemicals already on the TRI list: aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, isodrin, methoxychlor, pendimethalin, polycyclic aromatic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, toxaphene, trifluralin, lead and lead compounds, and mercury and mercury compounds.

TRI Forms Modification Rule

On July 12, 2005, the TRI Program published a final rule (70 FR 39931) that modifies the TRI reporting forms. The final rule eliminates certain information from the TRI reports, simplifies other reporting elements, and in some cases, reduces duplicate data collection. It also reduces the cost of compiling and submitting TRI reports, while ensuring that the public continues to receive high quality data with practical utility.

With the rule, TRI facilities are no longer required to report locational information (latitude and longitude data) and several facility identifiers (regulatory assigned identification codes for each facility). Instead, these data will be obtained from other existing EPA databases and made available to TRI data users. The TRI Forms Modification Rule also includes several minor reporting changes related to waste management activities, simplifies the reporting of pollution prevention activities, and improves public access to information about source reduction and pollution control activities undertaken by some facilities.

TRI Reporting with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes

In June 2006, EPA published a final rule to link Toxic Chemical Release Reporting to North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.  Owners and operators of facilities subject to TRI reporting must identify their principal business activities using NAICS codes beginning with reports due July 1, 2007, for releases and other waste management activities for Reporting Year 2006.

TRI Burden Reduction

In December 2006, EPA published a final rule that expanded the eligibility for use of the Form A to allow more facilities to use the short form while retaining the full Form R reporting on the large majority of releases and other waste management activities.  The rule also extended the use of the Form A to certain PBT chemicals for the first time.  For more information on the December 2006 final rule, please visit our Web site.

TRI Burden Reduction Rescission Rule

In April 2009, EPA published a final rule returning the Form A Certification Statement eligibility to the eligibility requirements that were in effect prior to the 2006 TRI Burden Reduction Rule.  For PBT chemicals, this final rule eliminates Form A eligibility for those chemicals listed in 40 CFR §372.28.  For non-PBT chemicals, the rule reinstates the 500-pound annual reporting amount (where the annual reportable amount is equal to the combined total quantities released at the facility ( the total of releases and other waste management) and 1,000,000 pounds manufactured, processed or otherwise used Form A eligibility threshold in effect prior to December 22, 2006.  This includes releases and waste management activities (Section 8.1 through and including Section 8.7) which are counted against the 500 pound threshold criterion.

TRI Dioxin and Dioxin-like Compounds Toxic Equivalency (TEQ) Information Rule

On May 10, 2007, the Toxics Release Inventory Program issued a new rule expanding reporting requirements for dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. The expanded reporting requirements will enhance information provided to the public regarding dioxin and dioxin-like compound releases.  Additional information is available from our Web site.

TRI Reporting in Indian Country Rule

On April 19, 2012, EPA published a final rule that improves and clarifies certain opportunities allowing tribal governments to participate more fully in the TRI Program (77 FR 23409). Beginning with Reporting Year 2012, facilities located in Indian Country are required to submit annual TRI reports to EPA and the appropriate tribal representative, rather than to the state in which the facility is geographically located. This rule also clarifies the opportunities available to tribal governments to modify the list of covered chemicals and TRI reporting facilities. In particular, EPA included a provision that provides the following opportunity for the Tribal Chairperson or equivalent elected official to request that EPA apply the TRI reporting requirements to a specific facility located within their respective tribal land. The Tribal Chairperson may also petition EPA to add or delete a particular chemical to or from the list of chemicals covered by TRI.

Electronic Reporting of TRI Data Rule

On August 27, 2013, EPA published a final rule that requires covered facilities to report non-trade-secret TRI forms to EPA using the electronic software provided by the Agency. This rulemaking also requires facilities to submit all revisions or withdrawals of previously submitted TRI reporting forms electronically via the Internet. Additionally, EPA will no longer accept submissions, revisions, or withdrawals of TRI reporting forms submitted for reporting years prior to 1991. Facilities that submit trade secret information are excepted from this rule and will continue to submit their trade secret reporting forms and substantiation forms in hard copy. EPA will also accept revisions or withdrawals of previously submitted trade secret information on paper forms; however, it will no longer allow these revisions or withdrawals for reporting forms dating back prior to Reporting Year 1991.

This rule is effective on January 21, 2014, and applies for Reporting Year 2013 (forms due on July 1, 2014) and all prior reporting years. Further information about this rule is available at the following URL:

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