||In June 2002, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued its annual report for 2000 on the use of toxic chemicals in Massachusetts. This report shows that since the Commonwealth enacted the Toxics Use Reduction Act in 1989, major chemical-using facilities have dramatically reduced their reliance on toxic chemicals, making Massachusetts a national leader in demonstrable reductions in toxic chemical use and waste, and providing clear evidence that the state has made tremendous progress in pollution prevention. In 2000, 559 facilities reported the use of 192 listed toxic substances under the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA). These facilities fell within certain standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, had ten or more full-time employees, and used listed toxic substances at or above reporting thresholds. These facilities reported that they:
-used nearly 1.4 billion pounds of toxic substances
-generated 127.8 million pounds of byproduct (or waste)
-shipped 424.4 million pounds in or as products
-released 10.8 million pounds to the environment
-transferred 42.0 million pounds off-site for further waste management.
The reported data shows that very little chemical manufacturing occurred in Massachusetts (only 7 percent of total use), and a significant amount of this chemical manufacture was not intentional but as a result of some other activity (e.g., acid gases from fuel combustion at power plants). Most of the reported chemicals used (about 67 percent) were incorporated into a product (such as plastics, paints, and automotive parts). About 26 percent of chemical use was attributed to uses ancillary to production processes, such as parts cleaning and waste treatment. In 1989, TURA set a goal of reducing toxic byproduct generation by 50 percent, which was met in 1998. This goal is measured by using data normalized for changes in production that is reported by a core group of industries that have been subject to reporting since 1990 (this data excludes trade secret data). In 2000, the core group comprised 340 facilities and used 664.4 million pounds, or 57 percent of the total toxic chemicals reported (i.e., 1.2 billion pounds excluding trade secret data). From 1990 to 2000, these facilities reduced:
-toxic byproducts by 58 percent
-toxic chemical use by 40 percent
-quantities shipped in product by 47 percent
-on-site releases to the environment by 90 percent
-transfers off-site for further waste management by 36 percent
The 2000 report contains newly-included data on persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals, such as polycyclic aromatic compounds, mercury, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PBT chemicals are of special concern because they are highly toxic, 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 2000 was due to the presence of PBTs as impurities in materials used (such as polycyclic aromatic compounds contained in fuel oils). PBTs also were reported as a result of being coincidentally manufactured (such as dioxins and mercury compounds generated from combustion). TURA requires reporting facilities to develop toxics use reduction plans that identify and evaluate opportunities to reduce the use of toxics and the generation of toxic byproducts. These plans must be updated every two years and approved by a state-certified toxics use reduction planner.