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The EPA’s Internal Watchdog Warns of Discrepancies in Data on Chemical Releases

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an emergency alert on Monday, warning that public data about toxic chemical releases published by the EPA didn’t align with internal data for the years 2013 to 2017.

According to the alert, the discrepancy in data regarding chemical releases from what the EPA describes as “Publicly Owned Treatment Works” is “of sufficient concern to warrant immediate reporting.”

The data was gathered by the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program, which annually collects data and information about toxic chemical releases reported to the EPA by both industrial and government facilities across the United States.

The TRI reports specifically check for chemicals that cause cancer and chronic health effects, among other acute effects to human and environmental health.

The OIG called for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to whom the alert was sent, to release its plans for correcting the identified discrepancies and to “disclose the degree to which the discrepancies identified impact the public reporting of TRI releases.”

Sheehan concluded that “the public is not receiving complete and timely information about environmental conditions affecting human health.”

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