EPA's Toxics Releaser Inventory is the foundation of much of what the nation knows about toxic pollution. But it consists of estimates from industry, sometimes dramatically understating the extent of pollution, and omits whole industrial categories.
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled its analysis of the 2010 Toxics Release Inventory, a database containing information on the disposal or release of 650 potentially dangerous chemicals used by almost 21,000 facilities. Though there were some increases between 2009 and 2010, it found that releases of these chemicals have generally decreased, with the total down 30 percent since 2001.
These estimates in some cases dramatically understate the extent of pollution, as the Center for Public Integrity and NPR reported in the Poisoned Places series, an investigation of lax Clean Air Act enforcement."