Communities have a right to know more about the types and quantities of toxic chemicals used by manufacturing facilities and incorporated into consumer products. Two states, New Jersey and Massachusetts, have expanded right-to-know programs that collect this information and make it publicly available. A new report by INFORM, Expanding the Public's Right to Know, compares the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) with New Jersey's Community Right to Know (CRTK) program, which requires industrial facilities to report on the total use of toxic chemicals and the quantities shipped in their products. In contrast, the TRI only requires reporting on toxic wastes, emissions, and releases.
Using the two reporting systems to assess the presence of one toxic chemical at a New Jersey-based vinyl producer, INFORM found the following:
* According to EPA's TRI data, the facility generated only about 2700 pounds of waste of a toxic plasticizer called DEHP.
* The New Jersey reporting system revealed that the facility actually used more than 25 million pounds of DEHP in the same year. Almost all of it was into plastic resin that was ultimately manufactured into vinyl products, which were sold to consumers, passing the toxic burden onto the public in a myriad of ways.
Expanded right-to-know information is valuable to: government officials who want to promote pollution prevention and track reductions at local facilities; purchasing agents who want to know more about toxics in products; emergency response personnel who must properly prepare for potential accidental releases of toxic chemicals; workers who want to prevent occupational exposures and reduce the toxicity of their workplace; and community organizations which want to understand the prevalence of toxic chemicals in particular neighborhoods.
The report can be downloaded free of charge at INFORM's website at http://www.informinc.org/envirojust.htm. For more information on INFORM's Right-to-Know inititave see Inform's Spring 2001 newsletter (http://www.informinc.org/IRSpr01.pdf) or contact Alicia Culver at 212-361-2400 extension 234
120 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
212-361-2400 ext. 242