EPA Toxics Release Inventory Not a Reflection of Risk
- For immediate release — March 5, 2019
- Media Contact: Laura Achee, 907-465-5009
Anchorage, AK — Today’s release of the annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis for 2017 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides an inaccurate picture of the chemical releases into Alaska’s environment. Substances are placed on the TRI list based on their potential to cause adverse effects to human health or the environment. However, it is important to note that the TRI data alone do not reflect actual exposures or risk posed by releases, since almost all of the releases are regulated under permit conditions designed to limit human and environmental exposure.
“Nearly all of the reported releases in Alaska consist of rock and low-grade mineral ore that are disposed of in state-permitted and monitored disposal sites, engineered to prevent harm to the environment and human health,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Jason Brune. “Big mines like Red Dog move a significant amount of material as part of their daily operations, but such actions do not adversely impact human health and the environment. Characterizing such releases as toxic is disingenuous at best.”
Since 1998, when metal mining was added to the TRI, over 99 percent of Alaska’s reported releases have consisted of naturally occurring trace minerals found in rock and low-grade mineral ore excavated from mine sites. Much of the reportable mineral content is stable and non-reactive or safely bound in the host rock. For releases from all industries other than those characterized from the movement of rock and low-grade mineral ore in metal mining, Alaska ranks amongst the lowest in the nation.