Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
Each year, tens of thousands of chemicals are used by industries and businesses in the United States to make the products on which our society depends, such as pharmaceuticals, clothing, and automobiles. However, many of the chemicals needed to create these products are toxic.
Annually, facilities report detailed information on the disposal or release of more than 650 chemicals as part of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a yearly analysis to interpret the data and provide communities with valuable information on toxic chemicals and other releases into the air, land and water, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities. In 2010, more than 20,000 facilities reported to TRI. The most recent analysis found that 3.93 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment, a 16 percent increase from 2009.
For more than 20 years, Abt Associates has been supporting the EPA in the analysis and design of the annual National Analysis for the Toxics Release Inventory. This year, Abt Associates translated the information into Spanish. In addition, new web pages developed for the EPA by Abt provided additional detail on 13 urban communities and 10 aquatic ecosystems, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The report can be downloaded at http://www.epa.gov/tri/NationalAnalysis/index.htm
Report Provides Critical Information on Toxic Releases
“The analysis is really the gold standard for how the public gets information on toxics each year,” said Cheryl Keenan, senior associate in Abt’s Environment & Resources Division and project lead for the TRI analysis. “It’s a go-to source for communities, academics and companies that want to know more about toxic chemicals and their potential risks.”
The yearly report is part of Abt’s larger support for EPA’s TRI Program over the past two decades. This includes economic, policy, and data analysis. Separately, Abt conducts yearly trainings for more than 600 facility personnel on TRI reporting and compliance issues. For a list of TRI training workshops, visit: http://www.abtassociates.com/Practice-Areas/Environmental---Natural-Resources/tritraining.aspx
In addition, Abt Associates designed and developed a pioneering mobile application for the EPA called My Right-to-Know (MyRTK). The web-based mobile application includes a map or list of chemical-producing facilities in close proximity to the mobile device, or near an address. From there, users can access data on a facility’s chemical releases, possible health effects, and a record of compliance with U.S. environmental laws. MyRTK can be viewed at http://myrtk.epa.gov/info/
“The TRI program plays a critical role in protecting people and the environment, giving communities valuable information on toxic chemicals in their areas that will allow them to better understand industrial activity, environmental releases, and potential risks,” Keenan said.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.