Question # 885

885. What are the limitations of the TRI data?
Users of TRI data should be aware that TRI data reflect disposal or other releases and other waste management of chemicals, not whether (or to what degree) the public has been exposed to them. Both the toxicity of a chemical and exposure considerations should be taken into account when using the data. - TRI chemicals vary widely in toxicity and in their capacity to produce toxic effects. Some high-volume releases of less toxic chemicals may appear to be more serious than lower-volume releases of highly toxic chemicals, when just the opposite may be true. - The potential for exposure may be greater the longer the chemical remains unchanged in the environment. Sunlight, heat, or microorganisms may or may not decompose the chemical. Smaller releases of a persistent, highly toxic chemical may create a more serious problem than larger releases of a chemical that is rapidly converted to a less toxic form. For more detailed information on this subject refer to "Factors to Consider When Using TRI Data".