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Releases to the Environment

The most recent analysis of toxic substance releases in Bloomington can be found in the 2011 Toxics Report and in the accompanying appendix of oversized tables.

According to several different waste classification methods, toxic chemicals released into the Monroe County environment have declined significantly since the late 1980s, when EPA began its Toxic Release Inventory program (TRI).

Chemicals that have been consistently reported since 1988 are represented by the blue line on the graph below (this does not include those that have been added to or removed from TRI since 1988, or for which reporting requirements have changed), annual releases in 2004 were only 12% of those in 1988, when well over a million pounds of toxic material were released into the Monroe County environment (Figure 1). The largest drop came in the early 1990s, as reported toxic releases declined by 76% between 1989 and 1993.

Tri Releases Toxic Release Inventory 1. Note: Although additional TRI reporting changes were implemented in 1998, 2000, and 2001, these changes have had no effect on Monroe County's reported totals.

Reported releases to the environment also show a significant decline in the early 1990s when considering the chemicals that have been consistently reported since 1991 (represented on the graph above by a gold line). Reported releases of these chemicals declined by 85% between 1991 and 2004. The most significant period of decline was between 1994 and 1996, when releases dropped by 64% for chemicals consistently being reported since 1991.

In 1995, a number of chemicals were added to the TRI reporting requirements. For the latter half of the 1990s, releases of these and other consistently reported chemicals were fairly consistent, with only minor year-to-year fluctuations. In 2001, however, reported releases declined by around 50%, and have remained near these levels since.

Select TRI data exists for Bloomington facilities that are either closed, no longer a manufacturing site, or which have changed ownership. The Bloomington area sites mentioned in this section should be taken as a representative snapshot of historical emissions activity rather than a comprehensive list of past contributors to Bloomington's record of chemical releases (see Table 1 below). Once again, this section omits data regarding volumes of chemicals treated on-site or sent off-site for disposal or treatment.

Table 1 Historical TRI Releases in Bloomington

Environmental Commission 2012 BEQI Toxics Report - Table 1 *Select Historical Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Data for Bloomington, Indiana The selected four sites are meant to be a representative sample of historic toxic releases to air and water. "Contaminant of Concern" refers to the chemical released. "Medium" refers to the type of release (into the air or into water), and "Contaminant Fate", for water releases, tells what body of water the chemical was released into. Note that for air releases, Contaminant Fate is simply listed as "release" because air mixes and so a specific end location for the contaminant cannot be determined.2

There are currently three sites in Bloomington for which 2009 TRI data is available 3: General Electric (301 N. Curry Pike), Dave O'Mara Contractor, Inc. (110 N Oard Rd), and Circle-Prosco, Inc (401 N. Gates Drive). In 2009 General Electric emitted 12 different compounds to the air totaling approximately 80,025 pounds, O'Mara emitted 91 lbs of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Circle Prosco, Inc emitted five pounds of hydrogen fluoride (HF) to the air. TRI data for 2009 can be seen below in the Table 2.

Table 2: 2009 Bloomington TRI Releases

Environmental Commission BEQI Report (2012) - Toxic Releases Table 2 Revised Table 2: 2009 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Data for Bloomington Air Emissions. 2


Toxic Waste Management

Of the Monroe County toxic wastes reported under the TRI program in a given year, typically more than half are released to the environment, with the rest being recycled, recovered as energy, or treated. In 2004, for instance, 63% of toxic wastes - around 400,000 pounds was released to the environment (Figure 2). The majority of these wastes are released on-site through smokestacks, though a small amount is released to the surface waters of Monroe County. Additionally, some wastes are transferred off-site for release at licensed facilities such as landfills or incinerators.

TriMgmt Toxic Release Inventory 4

The next most common method for dealing with hazardous chemicals is recycling, which accounts for a significant portion of Monroe County's TRI wastes. In 2004, around 25% of TRI-reported hazardous wastes were recycled.

The amount of chemicals used in energy recovery has consistently comprised around 6-10% of the total amount reported since the mid-1990s. In 2004, only 4% of chemical wastes were treated.

Interpretation

Releases to the Environment

Although changes in TRI reporting make cross-year comparisons difficult, trends can clearly be seen. Since 1995, reported wastes released to the environment have declined by more than 50%. During that period, changes to the TRI program have not affected the wastes reported in Monroe County.

Most of the decline since 1995 is attributable to a reduction of around 375,000 pounds of 1,1-Dichloro-1-Fluoroethane from 2001 onwards at the GE plant, which is located on N. Curry Pike. Reductions in the release of this chemical are noteworthy, as it is a powerful ozone-depleter and a greenhouse gas. Additionally, it is associated with several adverse health effects that could affect workers or others who come in close contact with the chemical 5.

Carcinogens

In various years since 1991, several recognized or suspected carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) have been released to Monroe County. These include: Chromium Compounds, Ethylene oxides, Nickel, Nickel compounds, and Styrene.

Total reported releases of carcinogens in 2004 were the lowest of any year since 1992. The only carcinogen to be released in 2004 was ethylene oxide, which was released by Cook, Inc., located in Ellettsville. Cook's 280 pounds of ethylene oxide released that year are significantly lower than in 1997 when 4,300 pounds were released. Ethylene oxides break down within days of their release, but do pose a threat to humans if exposure occurs 6.

Another suspected carcinogen that was released in large quantities in recent years is Styrene. In 2003, Marble Works of Indiana, located on North Curry Pike, released over 6,000 pounds to the air, the largest annual release ever recorded in Monroe County. But whereas ethylene oxide is known to be a carcinogen, there is less certainty regarding styrene. It has only been designated as "possibly carcinogenic" by the International Agency on Cancer Research.

Carcinogens Released to Monroe County, 1991-2004. Toxic Release Inventory 7.

Key:

Note: The presence of carcinogens in Monroe County does not necessarily imply that residents are at risk of developing cancer due to these sources. Cancer risk is a function of a variety of factors, including exposure to carcinogens.

Styrene can be found in a variety of natural and man-made sources, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, cigarette smoke, automobile exhaust, and manufacturing emissions. Styrene is most likely to affect workers who come in close contact with the chemical 13.

For more information on these and other carcinogens that have been released to Monroe County in the past decade (as shown in the graph above), please see ATSDR's ToxFAQ's for Chromium Compounds, Ethylene oxides, Nickel, Nickel compounds, and Styrene.

Toxic Waste Management

Just as with solid waste, waste reduction and recycling are preferred over disposal (release) when it comes to toxic wastes. Year-to-year variation in toxic waste management in Monroe County is probably attributable to the composition of the waste stream and the availability and price-competitiveness of alternative strategies for dealing with wastes, and the growth or decrease of manufacturer's sales.

Discussion

The Toxic Release Inventory is an interesting program in that it does not regulate pollution directly, yet still has an important impact on the environment. By simply providing information, TRI has enabled citizens to gain awareness of and more adequately address chemical threats in their communities 14. Shortcomings of the TRI program, however, are that data appearing in the TRI are self-reported, and thus may not be entirely accurate and not all facilities are required to report.

TRI encourages companies to reduce their pollution so that they may be seen more favorably in the public's eye. Additionally, TRI can serve to hold companies accountable to their public relations statements regarding environmental stewardship.

References

1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. TRI Explorer Trends Reports, Monroe County.

2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Query Results: Bloomington, IN. Accessed October 21, 2010 (link is no longer available).

3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Envirofacts." July 2010.

4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. TRI Explorer Yearly Chemical Waste Quantity Reports, Monroe County.

5. Toxicology Data Network. 1,1-Dichloro-1-Fluoroethane.

6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1999. ToxFAQs for Ethylene Oxide.

7. Environmental Protection Agency. TRI Explorer Trends Reports, Monroe County.

8. International Agency on Cancer Research. Evaluations of Carcinogenicity to Humans, Group 1: Carcinogenic to Humans.

9. International Agency on Cancer Research. Evaluations of Carcinogenicity to Humans, Group 2B: Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans.

10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program. 11th Report on Carcinogens. Part A, Chemicals Known To Be Human Carcinogens (pdf).

11. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program. 11th Report on Carcinogens, Part B: Chemicals Reasonably Anticipated to be Human Carcinogens (pdf).

12. California Environmental Protection Agency. 2006. Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity (pdf).

13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1992. Public Health Statement for Styrene.

14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2006. What is the Toxic Resources Inventory Program?

Resources

The selected four sites are meant to be a representative sample of historic toxic releases to air and water. "Contaminant of Concern" refers to the chemical released. "Medium" refers to the type of release (into the air or into water), and "Contaminant Fate", for water releases, tells what body of water the chemical was released into. Note that for air releases, Contaminant Fate is simply listed as "release" because air mixes and so a specific end location for the contaminant cannot be determined.