The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary data on the release of toxic chemicals occurring in the United States between Jan.1 and Dec. 31, 2008, according to a recent agency press release. In its continued commitment to openness and transparency, EPA is taking the unprecedented step of releasing the raw data prior to the agency completing its analysis. EPA is analyzing the data and will publish the national analysis once it is completed.

“EPA’s job is to ensure an open and transparent flow of information between Americans and their government, and today’s unprecedented step represents the agency’s commitment to doing just that,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “While we are still analyzing this information, we hope this raw data will be reviewed and used responsibly by stakeholders and the public to help them make informed decisions.”

The Toxics Release Inventory is a database that contains detailed information on nearly 650 chemicals and chemical categories that more than 23,000 industrial and other facilities manage through disposal or other releases, recycling, energy recovery, or treatment. The data are collected from industries including manufacturing, metal and coal mining, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste treatment, and other industrial sectors. Facilities must report their data by July 1 of each year.

The preliminary data account for approximately 80 to 85 percent of the data to be collected. EPA will continue to process paper submissions, late submissions, and to resolve issues with the electronic submissions. The agency will update the dataset in September and again in October so citizens will have complete access to the information.

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