Raising Awareness of Toxic Chemicals in Environmental Justice Communities

Three slides from the fotonovela "INVENTARIO DE EMISIONES TÓXICAS DE LA EPA (TRI): La Familia Díaz se Entera que Tiene Derecho a Saber Acerca de las Sustancias Tóxicas en Su Barrio." The slides show a family talking to each other while hanging out at a local playground near an industrial facility.

Project Brief

The Challenge

All Americans have the right to know how toxic chemicals are being used and released in their communities—and they can get this information from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory. But people can only make use of this powerful tool if they know it exists and have access to it. The TRI database contains a wealth of data from industrial facilities about which toxic chemicals they are using, how much they are releasing into the environment, and what they are doing to reduce pollution. Armed with this knowledge, communities can advocate for environmental justice.

ERG's Solution

ERG engaged with four pilot environmental justice communities to raise awareness of the TRI and help them use TRI data to build knowledge, identify pollution prevention opportunities, and engage more meaningfully in public processes. The work included training on the TRI as well as an assessment of each community’s TRI releases. In addition, we created a dual-language (Spanish and English) fotonovela to help communities understand and access the TRI. ERG worked with a community group in Jurupa Valley, California, to script, film, and produce the fotonovela and ensure its cultural appropriateness.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency