||Since the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) became law in 1989, major chemical-using facilities in Massachusetts have dramatically reduced their reliance on toxic chemicals, making Massachusetts a national leader in cutting toxics use and waste.
DEP has been tracking a core group of 323 facilities that have been subject to TURA reporting requirements since the base year of 1990. Between then and 2001, those facilities have reduced:
Toxic byproducts by 69 percent, Toxic chemical use by 45 percent, Quantities of toxics shipped in product by 60 percent, On-site releases of toxics to the environment by 92 percent, and Transfers of toxics off-site for further waste management by 58 percent.
In 2001, the core group used 583 million pounds or 53 percent of the 1.1 billion pounds of toxic chemicals reported statewide, excluding trade secret data. All told, 676 facilities reported using 192 TURA-listed toxic substances in 2001. These facilities fell within specific standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, had ten or more full-time employees, and used listed toxic substances at or above reporting thresholds. All facilities combined reported that they:
Used nearly 1.3 billion pounds of toxic substances (down from 1.4 billion pounds in 2000), Generated 113 million pounds of byproduct or waste (down from 128 million pounds), Shipped 377 million pounds of toxics in or as products (down from 424 million pounds), Released 9 million pounds of toxics to the environment (down from 11 million pounds), and Transferred 35 million pounds of toxics off-site for further waste management (down from 42 million pounds).
The 2001 report contains data on persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals, such as polycyclic aromatic compounds, mercury, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), reportable since 2000. PBT chemicals are of special concern because they are highly toxic and remain in the environment for long periods of time, are not readily destroyed, and build up in the food chain. Most of the PBT use reported for 2001 was attributable to impurities in materials used, such as polycyclic aromatic compounds contained in fuel oils.
Effective with reporting year 2001, lead and lead compounds were classified as PBTs, and the reporting thresholds were lowered to 100 pounds. Due to the lower reporting threshold for lead and lead compounds, the number of facilities filing for lead increased from 15 to 135, and the number filing for lead compounds increased from 32 to 115.