Over the years, the EPA has added and removed several chemicals from its Toxics Release Inventory list. The largest change began with the 1995 reporting year, when 286 chemicals were added to the list, bringing the total to 643.

But more changes are coming.

This year, the EPA announced it would require reports from several industry sectors that had previously been exempt. Those included metal-mining, coal-mining and electrical utilities; certain hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities; chemical and allied produce wholesale distributors; petroleum bulk stations and terminals; and solvent recovery services. About 6,000 additional facilities nationwide will have to begin providing TRI information under the new requirement. These facilities will begin reporting in the 1998 calendar year.

The EPA is also exploring the possibility of requiring industries to also report on the chemicals they use. The agency says such reporting would provide better information to local emergency planning efforts, and would help to better evaluate the overall pollution prevention performance of a facility.

Affected industries have raised a number of concerns about the proposal, including worries about making confidential manufacturing information public. No final decision has been made.