Toxic pollution data available earlier than previous yearsby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The federal government is providing information on toxic chemical pollution more quickly than it has in the past.
The Toxics Release Inventory, or TRI, is a database on the Web, where anyone can learn about industrial pollution in their community.
The Environmental Protection Agency has posted preliminary data for 2009. In previous years, that information would not be available for at least another six months.
Samuel Yamin, a public health scientist with the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said the TRI is a good resource for scientists and citizens.
"It sounds like they're improving the timeliness of the information which is really great too," Yamin said.
But in Minnesota, the Department of Public Safety will take six months to verify the data before passing it on to the federal government, according to spokesman Doug Neville.
"Yes, it's important for the public to see some real time or quicker data, but those reports are just that, they're preliminary," Neville said. "So we get the full report and do that comprehensive reporting once a year, and there's some lag time on that."
Neville said the Minnesota numbers for 2009 will be available at the end of 2010.
The database contains information on nearly 650 chemicals.