Beginning in 1987, U.S. manufacturing facilities have been obligated to track the manufacture, processing, and use of certain chemicals under EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory program. The number of substances has grown from approximately 300 in 1987 to over 600 today. A similar program (National Pollutant Release Inventory or NPRI) was begun in Canada a few years later, where the number of substances now exceeds 300. Annual reporting of releases to air, water and land is required for substances that exceed specified reporting thresholds.
To assist member companies in meeting their reporting obligations, NCASI maintains an extensive multi-media information base on about 100 of the listed substances that may encountered at forest products manufacturing facilities. This information base is comprised of NCASI and mill-provided sampling results for emissions, discharges, and solid wastes, as well as results published in the open literature. It is updated on a regular basis to incorporate additional data as they become available. NCASI annually prepares a handbook containing a summary of the chemical-specific information for different types of processes and equipment found at pulp mills, paper mills, recycling operations, and wood products plants. Examples are provided to show how the data can be applied to perform the required calculations for reporting purposes. Because of somewhat different regulatory requirements in the United States and Canada, separate handbooks are maintained for each country.
In addition to routine compilation of chemical-specific information related to the Toxic Release Inventory and NPRI programs, NCASI occasionally undertakes special investigations of chemicals or compounds of particular concern to the industry. For a given substance or class of substances, such investigations may involve evaluation of sampling and analytical methods, examination of formation and fate in particular manufacturing processes, and fate in the environment. Compounds of current interest include dioxin and furans, aldehydes, several metals (including mercury), reduced sulfur compounds, and PCBs.