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Toxics Release Reports

Organization(s) New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection
Project Description New Jersey is one of only two states that require industries to prepare what is referred to as facility-level materials accounting data, which provide a complete view of hazardous substances used in manufacturing operations. This unique information provides insight into pollution prevention progress and potential public health exposure concerns not seen in other data, such as the annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The report also tracks three separate groups of chemicals of concern: carcinogens; persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic substances; and extraordinarily hazardous substances. Tracking these chemicals separately helps NJ DEP's enforcement and permitting programs and keeps the public informed about trends for these important chemicals. During 2002, the NJ DEP's Office of Pollution Prevention and Release Prevention updated all toxic substance release data for reporting years 1998 through 2001.

The 2001 data includes 2,306 reports on substances covered by New Jersey's Right to Know law that were manufactured, brought into facilities, consumed in processes, shipped off site in products, released directly into the environment, managed as waste on site, or shipped off site for further management (i.e., recycling, energy recovery, treatment, or disposal).

This data revealed that in 2001, total releases to the environment of hazardous substances were 18.1 million pounds. Of this total, approximately 78.1 percent were releases to air, 20.2 percent to water, and 1.7 percent to on-site land.

The total amount of materials used by industries reporting was 26.8 billion pounds in 2001. An important variable that is reported in New Jersey, which differs from federal TRI reporting, is the amount of hazardous substances shipped in product. For reporting year 2001, the amount shipped in products was 87.8 percent of total usage, consumption was 11.2 percent, and non-product output was 1 percent. Nonproduct output is defined as all hazardous substances that are generated during processing, released to the environment prior to treatment, or shipped out in a waste.

Releases for industries that have been reporting since the Right to Know program began in 1987 decreased by 2.9 million pounds from 2000 to 2001, while hazardous substance use by these original industries decreased by 3.4 billion pounds. Releases for industries that began reporting in 1999, when additional companies were added to the Right to Know program, decreased by 2.2 million pounds from 2000 to 2001, and during the same time hazardous substance use by these industries increased by 142 million pounds.

In June 2004, the Office of Pollution Prevention and Right to Know released a report entitled "Industrial Pollution Prevention in New Jersey: A Trends Analysis of Materials Accounting Data From 1994 to 2001 and An Annual Report for 2001."

In terms of statewide trends from 1994 to 2001, a substantial decrease was identified in hazardous substances generated as waste and released into the environment during production activity at facilities in New Jersey. Even though production levels increased by 10 percent, facilities decreased their waste (or non-product output) generation by 26 percent from 1994 to 2001. The amount of this waste released into the environment decreased by 58 percent in this same time period from 13.7 to 5.7 million pounds. By comparison, national total on-site releases for the same period decreased by 40 percent.

On-site releases of carcinogens decreased by 68 percent, or 1.6 million pounds between 1994 and 2001 using unadjusted quantities. In 2001, carcinogens accounted for 15 percent of statewide releases, or 828,080 pounds out of 5.5 million pounds. The air emissions in 2001 accounted for more than 90 percent of the releases of carcinogens.

New Jersey facilities have made less progress from 1994 to 2001 in reducing the use of hazardous substances compared to the reductions in the amounts of waste generated or released to the environment. Facilities actually increased the use of hazardous substances by 8 percent, from 13.8 to 14.9 billion pounds, even though they are using substances more efficiently. The increases in production outpaced efficiencies employed, so total use rose.

While there is a clear downward trend in overall waste generation and releases statewide, there are instances where increases are taking place. Of the 197 core chemicals tracked, the following trends were seen: use of 63 chemicals increased (32 percent); waste of 67 chemicals increased (34 percent); and on-site releases of 43 chemicals increased (22 percent). An analysis of specific facilities shows a similar distribution of increases. This analysis shows that numerous facilities reported increases in use (24 percent), waste generation (23 percent), and releases to the environment (16 percent) of hazardous substances. It is important to document where these increases took place and whether they create localized affects to human health and the environment.

The lack of progress in reducing the use of hazardous substances is due to the fact that this measure is dominated by the quantity of chemicals shipped as, or in, products. In 2001, hazardous substances shipped as products accounted for 87 percent of all hazardous substances used. Between 1994 and 2001, hazardous substances shipped as product increased by 15 percent. Such industries as petroleum refineries and metal fabrication account for more than 90 percent of the quantities in products. These types of facilities have limited options for reducing use compared to other types of industries. Statewide trends are often driven by changes at a few large facilities. This is particularly true for hazardous substance use, which is dominated by petroleum refineries, metal manufacturers, and a few large plastics and chemical manufacturers. Increases in use by the top 10 facilities mask decreases in use achieved by all other facilities combined. If the top 10 facilities were excluded from the analysis, statewide use would show a decrease of 10 percent instead of the 8 percent increase.

Reductions in releases, on the other hand, are more often attributed to the combined actions of several smaller facilities. Changes by the top 10 facilities account for approximately 46 percent of the statewide release reductions. This means that the remaining universe of facilities has contributed more to statewide release reductions than the top 10 facilities. In the last trend analysis by DEP, facilities decreased waste generation by at least 50 percent between 1987 and 1994.

Data are submitted by facilities under the Worker and Community Right to Know (W&CRTK) Act and Pollution Prevention Act (P2 Act). New Jersey's materials accounting data includes facilities that report approximately 20 different quantities that constitute a complete accounting for their hazardous substances.

DEP began using facility information to identify potential public health risks in the state in 2002. The first enforcement action occurred at a facility in Newark because it was the state's largest emitter of hydrazine, a carcinogenic air pollutant. The facility chose to shut down its operations later that same year. In addition, DEP targeted the top 25 facilities releasing toxic substances. One result was the investigation of all boat manufacturers using styrene, another carcinogen. Based on these efforts, the industry reformulated to reduce the styrene emissions to below levels that would represent a health concern. Over the past two years, DEP conducted two geographic-based enforcement sweeps in Camden and Paterson, urban areas of the state where residents were concerned about the impact of various industrial facilities on their children. New data was used to target facilities within these municipalities.

More Info www.nj.gov/dep/opppc/reports.html
Project Contact
Name Mike DiGiore
Phone 609-777-0518
Project Keywords
Activity Keywords New publication, Research and development
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 14 No. 2, Fall 2004


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