Questions

  1. If I have acute (short-term) health effects, will I later get chronic (long term) health effects?
  2. Can I get long-term effects without ever having short-term effects
  3. What are my chances of getting sick when I have been exposed to chemicals?
  4. Is the risk of getting sick higher for workers than for community residents.
  5. Who is at the greatest risk from reproductive hazards?
  6. Don't all chemicals cause cancer?
  7. Should I be concerned if a chemical causes cancer in animals?
  8. Should I be concerned if a chemical is a teratogen in animals?
  9. But don't they test animals using much higher levels of a chemical that people are usually exposed to?
  10. What is the definition of a chemical releases under Section 313?
  11. Is it true that the facility need not make any special effort to measure or monitor releases for Section 313 reporting and may use information that is on hand?
  12. Are barge loading/unloading releases exempt?
  13. Is the disposal of wastes such as dusts, shaving or turning s that result from grinding or drilling metal items considered " releases of toxic chemicals"?
  14. Does EPA plan to widen the coverage of reporting facilities under EPCRA Section 313 in the future?
  15. Can TRI be used to determine risk to public health resulting from air toxic emissions?
  16. What does a TRI deepwell injection discharge listing mean to an area's ground water resources?
  17. What role does TRI data play in chemical accident prevention?
  18. Is the owner or operator responsible for reporting?
  19. What is the difference between the Section 313 list and other EPCRA lists?
  20. Is there any difference between fugitive and stack air emissions when it comes to my health?
  21. Can releases of these chemicals be prevented?
  22. What can I do to reduce TRI releases in my community?
  23. Since Federal Facilities are now required to report, how many are predicted to report in 1995?
  24. How was the list of chemicals subject to TRI reporting created?
  25. How were the additional chemicals selected for addition?
  26. When are higher exposures more likely?
  27. Are the plants with the largest releases always the most important in terms of public health?
  28. What are my chances of getting sick when I have been exposed to chemicals?
  29. How can a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the community use the TRI data?
  30. What role do TRI data play in chemical accident prevention?
  31. Is there any federal legislation that could impact TRI reporting in Louisiana?
  32. What are the criteria air pollutants?
  33. Does Louisiana violate any of the criteria pollutant standards?
  34. Should I be concerned about getting ill when I am exposed to pharmaceuticals and pesticides which have been tested for safety?
  35. Why are catastrophic releases reported separately?
  36. What is the alternate threshold rule and why was it established?
  37. How did EPA identify and select industries for possible addition to TRI?
  38. When does EPA expect to apply the reporting requirements to additional industries?
  39. How does the quantity released, reported in Section 8 of the Form R, Source Reduction and Recycling Activities, differ from the quantities reported in the Section 5, Releases of the Toxic Chemical to the Environment On-Site?
  40. Why are the off-site energy recovery, recycling, and treatment data characterized differently from these same activities on-site?
  41. Why is EPA interested in expanding TRI to collect materials accounting information under EPCRA?
  42. Why are recycling numbers so large?
  43. What is the purpose of the production index?
  44. How does EPA determine the health and environmental effects of chemicals?
  45. Why should I be concerned about chemicals that accumulate at extremely low levels?
  46. If I am exposed to a neurotoxin, will it affect my ability to work?

  1. If I have acute (short-term) health effects, will I later get chronic (long term) health effects?
    Not always. Most chronic effects result from repeated exposures to a chemical.
  2. Can I get long-term effects without ever having short-term effects
    Yes, because long term effects can occur from repeated exposures to a chemical at levels not high enough to make you immediately sick.
  3. What are my chances of getting sick when I have been exposed to chemicals?
    The likelihood of becoming sick from chemicals is increased as the amount of exposure increases. This is determined by the length of time and the amount of material to which you are exposed.
  4. Is the risk of getting sick higher for workers than for community residents?
    Usually the risk is higher to workers because exposures may be higher. However, workers are generally more healthy than the overall population and may be less susceptible to illness than those who are already ill or who are particularly sensitive to chemical exposures (including children and the elderly). Exposures in the community, except possibly in cases of fires or spills, are usually much lower than those found in the work place. Also people in the community may be exposed to contaminated water as well as to multiple chemicals in the air over long periods. Because of this and because of exposure of those who are already ill, community exposures may cause health problems.
  5. Who is at the greatest risk from reproductive hazards?
    Pregnant women are generally thought to be at greatest risk from chemicals that harm the developing fetus. However, chemicals may also cause sterility and mutations which can affect future generations, so both men and women of child-bearing age are at high risk from reproductive hazards.
  6. Don't all chemicals cause cancer?
    Not necessarily. Many chemical tested by scientists are not cancer-causing. Cancer is not the only concern associated with exposure. Other concerns such as chemical's persistence (meaning it does not break down easily and therefore persists and accumulates in the environment). and bioaccumulation (is not easily expelled from the bodies of plants and animals and therefore accumulates over time through repeated exposure) need to be considered.
  7. Should I be concerned if a chemical causes cancer in animals?
    Yes. Most scientists agree that a chemical that causes cancer in animals should be treated as a suspected human carcinogen unless proven otherwise.
  8. Should I be concerned if a chemical is a teratogen in animals?
    Yes. Although some chemicals may affect humans differently than they affect animals, damage to animals suggests that damage can occur in humans.
  9. But don't they test animals using much higher levels of a chemical that people are usually exposed to?
    Yes. That's so the effect can be seen more clearly using fewer animals. But high doses alone don't cause cancer unless the chemical is a cancer agent. In fact, a chemical that causes cancer in animals at high doses could cause cancer in humans exposed to low doses especially over long periods of time.
  10. What is the definition of a chemical releases under Section 313?
    The law defines a releases as "any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing to the environment."
    Under Section 313, facilities are required to take into account in their reports both "routing" and "accidental" releases to any environmental medium.
  11. Is it true that the facility need not make any special effort to measure or monitor releases for Section 313 reporting and may use information that is on hand? If this is true, how will Section 3131 reporting produce complete data for the public on environmental releases?
    The law states that covered facilities need not conduct monitoring or other activities beyond that required by other statutory or regulatory requirements. Congress included this language to limit the burden on the affected industry for development of releases and other required data. Without measurement or monitoring data, the facility is required to make reasonable estimates.
  12. Are barge loading/unloading releases exempt?
    Such releases must be reported if the barge terminal is part of a covered facility.
  13. Is the disposal of wastes such as dusts, shaving or turning s that result from grinding or drilling metal items considered " releases of toxic chemicals'?
    Yes, such releases of "non-recognizable" solid wastes such as dusts, shavings, or turnings are considered releases of toxic chemicals.
  14. Does EPA plan to widen the coverage of reporting facilities under EPCRA Section 313 in the future?
    EPA has begun evaluating other industrial sources for inclusion under EPCRA Section 313. Operations being considered for addition include waste management firms, mining operations, public sewage treatment facilities, chemical warehouses, commercial laundries, photo processing facilities, and other operations which may represent substantial sources of chemical releases. EPA plans to initiate rulemaking to expand EPCRA Section 313 by the end of 1992.
  15. Can TRI be used to determine risk to public health resulting from air toxic emissions?
    While the TRI data represent a useful means of identifying potential air toxics sources, these data are not sufficient to accurately determine the magnitude of the public health hazard posed by the emissions from a given facility. For example, TRI provides no information concerning the potential exposure to these emissions. These data are most useful to point out the direction for further analyses of public health risk. In addition to identifying new regulatory projects, these data can be used to make priority decisions for the air toxics regulatory agenda.
  16. What does a TRI deepwell injection discharge listing mean to an area's ground water resources?
    A listing for any particular facility may, depending on well classification and operating status, pose a threat to underground sources of drinking water. For that reason, each underground injection listing in the TRI database is checked against authorized facilities; if not properly authorized, the operation will be subject to a compliance review on prescribed schedule.
  17. What role does TRI data play in chemical accident prevention?
    TRI data are used to support two activities related to chemical accident prevention:
  18. TRI data are used to identify chemical-handling facilities which could benefit from information on chemical process safety for preventing accidental chemical releases. TRI data are used as one source of background material in learning more about facility activities. This data can assist a team in preparing for a chemical a safety audit at a particular chemical-handling facility, for example.
  19. Is the owner or operator responsible for reporting?
    Either the owner or the operator is subject to the Section 313 reporting requirements. If no report is received from a reporting facility, both persons are liable for penalties. As a practical matter, EPA believes the operator is more likely to have the information necessary for reporting.
  20. What is the difference between the Section 313 list and other EPCRA lists?
    Some overlaps exist between the lists of chemicals covered by different sections of the law. Section 313 focuses on chemicals that may cause chronic health and environmental effects. The Section 313 list was developed from lists of regulated chemicals in New Jersey and Maryland. The EPA "List of Lists" document identifies chemicals which are specifically listed and must be reported under Sections 304 and 313 of EPCRA.
  21. Is there any difference between fugitive and stack air emissions when it comes to my health?
    In general, a ground or near-ground release will more likely result in a higher exposure and, therefore, a greater health hazard for nearby residents than emissions from tall stacks. Dispersion of a chemical and its concentration at various distances from the point of release are affected by such factors as whether the chemical is emitted from a tall stack at high temperatures of a pipe fitting near the ground at ambient temperature. Thus exposure could vary depending on the manner in which the release occurs.
  22. Can releases of these chemicals be prevented?
    Much can be done to prevent the TRI chemicals from entering wastes and, thus, to reduce the amount ultimately released to the environment. One effect of the national availability of data on releases of toxic chemicals has been increased scrutiny by facilities, local communities, and state and federal governments with an eye to reducing releases. The new TRI data will help in tracking year-to-year trends in releases, waste management, and pollution prevention. All reporting facilities must provide EPA with information on what, if any, source reduction activities they implemented. Also, many states have established Pollution Prevention and Toxics Use Reduction programs.
    Currently, over 1,200 parent companies have signed on to the 33/50 Program nationally, a voluntary program with a national goal of a 33% reduction in releases and transfers of 17 TRI chemicals by 1992 and a 50% reduction by 1995, using the 1988 data as a baseline. These facilities have already either committed to plans to reduce releases of toxic chemicals over the next few years or have implemented changes which will reduce their releases in future years. In Louisiana, 30 chemical manufacturing facilities participated in the state's voluntary pollution prevention program, corporate response challenge, which culminated this year. For more information on Louisiana's Pollution Prevention Programs, contact the Department of Environmental Quality.
  23. What can I do to reduce TRI releases in my community?
    A first step in encouraging release reductions is developing a full picture of releases to your community from the reporting facilities. Contact the facility or facilities and ask them for more information on their TRI releases, pollution prevention, and worker safety programs. Because of the new PPA data collected for the 1991, 1992 and 1993 years, Form R submissions can be used to see if facilities in your community are implementing source reduction programs and to determine what effect the programs are having. Establishing and continuing a positive dialogue with facilities on potential release reduction activities can promote risk reductions.
    Discuss your concerns with local, state, and EPA officials, and encourage them to pursue pollution prevention initiatives with these facilities. These officials have more information that they can make available to you so you can develop a better understanding of environmental situations where you live. Organize a neighborhood citizen organizations, contact existing public interest groups, and work together as a coalition to seek pollution prevention and risk reduction.
    These are just a few examples of some of the hundreds of ways the TRI could serve and has served as a pollution prevention and release reduction tool. For more information, contact the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 
  24. Since Federal Facilities are now required to report, how many are predicted to report in 1995?
    At this date, it is hard to predict how many federal facilities will file Form R's in 1995. The Executive Order required that Federal agencies send a list to EPA, by January 31, 1994, of the facilities they believe will be covered under all sections of the Order. Operating from this list, EPA will soon be able to estimate the number of reports to expect. This list is available to the public via EPA's Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse at (202) 260-1023.
  25. How was the list of chemicals subject to TRI reporting created?
    A list of chemicals subject to TRI reporting was given to EPA by Congress in EPCRA. The statutory list was derived from separate lists from the states of New Jersey and Maryland. The criteria for chemicals on the Maryland and New Jersey lists differ from the criteria established under EPCRA section 313. For instance, the Maryland list is a survey list and consists of chemicals that are noted for toxicity and/or high volume activities in that state. As a result of these differences in listing criteria, a number of chemicals have been added to the TRI list that were not on the original state lists. Also, a number of chemicals have been deleted from the original TRI list of toxic chemicals because EPA determined that they did not meet any of the criteria for listing. EPA has also added chemicals that have met the criteria for listing.
    Under EPCRA section 313, anyone can petition EPA to add a chemical(s) to, or delete a chemical(s) from the list of chemicals.
    EPA has developed criteria and is currently refining the process for reviewing the TRI list of chemicals. The result of this exercise has allowed EPA to more effectively add chemicals to and delete chemicals from the list. This will result in reporting on chemicals that meet the intent of section 313.
  26. How were the additional chemicals selected for addition?
    EPA began with a pool of 1,031 chemicals regulated or identified as of concern under various environmental statutes. In addition, EPA considered chemicals designated as possible, probable, or known carcinogens in the Monographs of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the 6th annual Report on Carcinogens of the National Toxicology Program (NTP), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    This list was narrowed by excluding those chemicals already on TRI, or proposed for addition in response to a petition. The remaining chemicals underwent a toxicity screen using numerical criteria guidelines and a production volume screen. This narrowed th4e list of candidates to approximately 400 chemicals. The candidates underwent a further hazard assessment, including a detailed review of the toxicity of each to determine whether the chemical meets the statutory criteria for listing.
  27. When are higher exposures more likely?
    Accidents can expose the facility's workers and surrounding community to higher concentration of the chemicals. Other conditions that increase risk of exposure include dust-releasing operations (grinding, mixing, blasting, dumping, etc.), other physical and mechanical processes (heating, pouring, spraying, spills, and evaporation from large surface areas such as open containers), and "confined space" exposures (working inside vats, reactors, boilers, small rooms, etc.). During process start-up and shutdown operations, there also is a greater likelihood of exposure. The closer one is to a release, the greater the risk of exposure.
  28. Are the plants with the largest releases always the most important in terms of public health?
    No. It is not possible to determine risks to public health strictly from knowing the amount of a chemical which is released by a facility over a year. A release total is an important first step in identifying a facility that may pose a public health hazard. Other factors that are necessary to the risk assessment process include specific information on: the environmental medium of the release, chemical toxicity and potency, local meteorological and topographic characteristics, where people live and work (potential population exposure), and when and how releases occur. Because some chemicals are more toxic than others, knowing only the quantity of chemicals released to the environment is not sufficient to determine its importance with respect to risk.
  29. What are my chances of getting sick when I have been exposed to chemicals?
    The likelihood of becoming sick from chemicals is determined by the length of time someone is exposed and the amount of chemical to which they are exposed, as well as the "inherent" toxicity of the chemical. The risk is increased as the amount of exposure increases.
  30. How can a Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the community use the TRI data?
    First, LEPCs can use the TRI data for emergency planning for response to chemical accidents. Specifically, they can use TRI data, along with reports on chemical accidents, as a risk screening tool around manufacturing facilities. The LEPCs receive notifications of accidental releases under EPCRA section 304. They can compare the data received under section 304 to the TRI data to help screen the risks posed by manufacturing facilities in their community. More broadly, reviewing this information along with chemical inventory information submitted by facilities under sections 311 and 312 of EPCRA can enable communities and LEPCs to obtain a "chemical profile" of their community for use in planning for response to chemical accidents.
    Second, the chemical profile now possible with information from EPCRA can be used to examine community-wide risks and be used in a variety of strategies to reduce those risks.
    Additionally, the LEPCs can use the TRI data in conjunction with the Material Safety Data Sheets available under EPCRA and other information to respond to community requests for information under the right-to-know provisions under EPCRA.
  31. What role do TRI data play in chemical accident prevention?
    TRI data are used to support two activities related to chemical accident prevention:
    • TRI data are used to identify chemical-handling facilities that could benefit from information on chemical process safety for preventing accidental chemical releases.
    • TRI data are used as one source of background material in learning more about facility activities. For example, these data can assist
    • a team in preparing for a chemical safety audit at a particular chemical-handling facility.
  32. Is there any federal legislation that could impact TRI reporting in Louisiana?
    Yes, currently Congress is considering legislation requiring facilities to submit information under EPCRA 313(a) or TSCA Section 8 that is not already required. The legislation would inhibit EPA from adding chemical use data to the Toxics Release Inventory.
  33. What are the criteria air pollutants?
    The following are criteria air pollutants: PM-10 (Particulate Matter 10 microns or smaller), sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and lead.
  34. Does Louisiana violate any of the criteria pollutant standards?
    Yes, Louisiana has violated the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone.
  35. Should I be concerned about getting ill when I am exposed to pharmaceuticals and pesticides which have been tested for safety?
    Uncontrolled use of such chemicals may pose the likelihood of an individual becoming sick depending on how long that person is exposed and the amount of exposure. It will also depend upon the inherent toxicity of the chemical.
  36. Why are catastrophic releases reported separately?
    The amounts reported as recycled, used for energy recovery, treated and released in Section 8 identify the quantities of the toxic chemical in waste that should be subject to pollution prevention efforts. The catastrophic releases are reported separately because they cannot be predicted and are general not amenable to pollution prevention efforts.
  37. What is the alternate threshold rule and why was it established? 
    The alternate threshold rule is a reporting option for a listed chemical, but whose total annual reportable amount does not exceed 500 pounds. The facility submits a certification statement instead of the standard Form R. The rule was established in response to two petitions that requested EPA provide regulatory relief for a subset of facilities covered under EPCRA section 313.
  38. How did EPA identify and select industries for possible addition to TRI?  
    EPA made its determination based upon such factors as indication of the management of TRI chemicals and the relationship between manufacturing activities and other facilities engaged in activities which support the manufacturing process. EPA also considered such factors as whether the facilities conduct activities compatible with TRI reporting requirements and the burden imposed through these requirements. EPA focused on those industries where reportable releases of TRI chemicals occur and which support manufacturing activities in some direct way.
  39. When does EPA expect to apply the reporting requirements to additional industries?
    EPA anticipates proposing new sectors for inclusion in TRI during 1996.
  40. How does the quantity released, reported in Section 8 of the Form R, Source Reduction and Recycling Activities, differ from the quantities reported in the Section 5, Releases of the Toxic Chemical to the Environment On-Site?
    The quantity reported as released in Section 8.1 can differ from the total of the releases reported in Section 5 in two basic ways. First, the quantity reported in Section 8 includes quantities sent off-site for disposal. This quantity is not reported in Section 5 but is reported in Section 6. Second, the quantity reported in Sections 8.1-8.7 should not include any quantities released to the environment because of catastrophic, remedial, or one-time events that are non-routine (not associated with production operations). Such quantities would be included as part of the total releases reported in Section 5 and Section 8.8.
  41. Why are the off-site energy recovery, recycling, and treatment data characterized differently from these same activities on-site?
    The difference in how the data are characterized is based on the level of knowledge the facility has. For example, a facility is able to estimate the amount of the toxic chemical recovered by on-site recycling processes because this activity is under its control. The facility is not likely to know the amount recovered through a similar activity occurring off-site because it is not under its control. What the facility should know, however, is the quantity of the chemical sent off-site for the purpose of recycling. This same difference in knowledge applies to on-site and off-site energy recovery and treatment. The facility can estimate amounts combusted for energy and destroyed through their treatment processes, but they may only know the amounts sent off-site for the purpose of energy recovery and treatment.
  42. Why is EPA interested in expanding TRI to collect materials accounting information under EPCRA?
    Communities and public interest groups have indicated to EPA that there are gaps in existing Right-to-Know information and that materials accounting information would be useful, not only to them, but to the government and industry itself. These groups believe that materials accounting data, in the hands of the public, would provide information that would aid in studies on a variety of issues including, but not limited to, trend information on chemical use patterns, the quantity of toxics in products, worker health and safety issues, and promoting and tracking pollution prevention activities.
  43. Why are recycling numbers so large?  
    The recycling numbers are especially large in comparison with amounts of toxic chemical reported as being released to the environment. These amounts are not unexpected, however. Quantities recycled are likely to be much larger than release quantities because the purpose of recycling is to recover the chemical for further use. Unlike the quantities released, which leave the process, the recycled amounts return to the process again and again, and can be estimated based on the total number of times an amount is recovered from wastes and returned for further use.
  44. What is the purpose of the production index? 
    The production index is a ratio of production during the reporting year and production during the prior year and is intended to provide a potential indicator of progress in source reduction. It also allows data users to assess the impact of business changes on changes in total wasted generated. By multiplying the sum of the waste quantities reported for the prior year by the production index, a data user can estimate the amount of the toxic chemical that would have been expected to enter wastes in the reporting year, given the change in production. Comparing this expected sum of the actual quantities for the current reporting year can yield an indication of whether source reduction is occurring.
  45. How does EPA determine the health and environmental effects of chemicals?
    EPA has developed guidelines to assess these effects. The available information on each chemical is evaluated using these guidelines and determination is made on a case-by-case-basis. EPA is currently in the process of revising these guidelines. For further information call the EPCRA Hotline, (800) 535-0202.
  46. Why should I be concerned about chemicals that accumulate at extremely low levels? 
    These chemicals are persistent and accumulate in soil, plants, and organisms and, therefore, pose the chance of causing an adverse impact on human health and the environment even when released at low levels. Over a number of years such chemicals can accumulate in larger quantities.
  47. If I am exposed to a neurotoxin, will it affect my ability to work?  
    TRI contains chemicals that produce a variety of effects on the nervous system. However, depending upon how long a person is exposed to and the amount of the chemical, the effect may be slight to severe.
 

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