TRI Exemptions—What You Don’t Have to Report

Use Exemptions

Certain uses of listed toxic chemicals are exempt:

  • Use as a structural component of the facility.
  • Use in routine janitorial or facility grounds maintenance (including phenol in bathroom disinfectants and pesticides in lawn care products). Listed chemicals used in facility equipment maintenance and cleaning or maintenance activities that are integral to the production process at the facility are not exempt (e.g., herbicides used on an aboveground storage tank berm).
  • Employees’ personal use (foods, drugs, cosmetics, etc.).
  • Use of products containing toxic chemicals for facility motor vehicle maintenance.
  • Use of toxic chemicals contained in intake water (used for processing or noncontact cooling) or in intake air (used either as compressed air or for combustion).

De Minimis Exemption

The de minimis exemption applies where the quantity of a listed chemical in a mixture or other trade-name product is either:

  • An OSHA-defined carcinogen present at a concentration of less than 0.1 percent by weight
  • Any other listed chemical present at a concentration of less than 1 percent by weight

The de minimis exemption can apply to:

  • Chemicals in mixtures or other trade-name products processed or otherwise used
  • Chemicals coincidentally manufactured as impurities that remain in products
  • Chemicals imported in mixtures or other trade-name products

The de minimis exemption does not apply to:

  • PBTs, except for supplier notification purposes
  • Manufacturing chemicals (in most cases)
  • Manufacturing chemicals as by-products
  • Coincidentally manufacturing chemicals
  • Wastes and wastestreams, from nonexempt sources, that are processed or otherwise used
  • Releases and other waste management activities from mixtures or other trade-name products that are not associated with a processing or otherwise-use activity

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Article Exemptions

Quantities of a listed toxic chemical contained in an article do not have to be counted when that article is processed or otherwise used at the facility.

The article exemption does not apply to the manufacture of an article, and listed chemicals otherwise used to manufacture an article are not exempt.

An article that releases toxic chemicals under conditions of use or processing, including cutting, grinding, or melting, is still subject to reporting, unless total releases from all like items are:

  • In a recognizable form; and
  • Recycled; or
  • 0.5 lb or less (may be rounded down to zero).

Laboratory Exemption

Toxic chemicals that are manufactured, processed, or used in a laboratory at a facility under the supervision of a qualified technician are not included in determining the threshold amount. However, this does not apply to:

  • Specialty chemical production laboratories
  • Chemicals manufactured, processed, or used in pilot plant scale operations
  • Activities conducted outside a laboratory

Coal-Extraction Exemption

Facilities in SIC Code 12 that manufacture, use, or process toxic chemicals in extraction procedures do not have to consider those chemicals in determining if a threshold level has been reached or in calculating the amounts of those chemicals to report.

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Metal Mining Overburden Exemption

Toxic chemicals that are constituents of overburden and are processed or used by facilities in SIC Code 10 do not have to be included in threshold level calculations or in determinations of the amounts of chemicals to be reported.

Owners of Leased Property

The owner of a covered facility is not subject to reporting if the owner’s only interest in the facility is ownership of the real estate on which the facility is situated. This specifically applies to owners of property such as industrial parks where all or a part is leased to persons who operate covered facilities.

If one of the exemptions applies, then the amount of the listed chemical subject to the exemption does not have to be included in threshold determinations, releases and other waste management reporting, or supplier notification.

Trade Secret Claims

Trade secret exemptions may also be requested from EPA; the claimant should submit to EPA an explanation of why the information is a trade secret.

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