Posted on Jan 25, 2013, 6 a.m.
Although emissions of toxic air pollutants in the United States continue to decline, total releases of toxic chemicals in the air, water and land are on the rise.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the 2011 Edition of the “Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), reporting data on toxic chemical releases to the air, water and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country. The Report finds that while total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8% from 2010, mostly because of decreases in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions, the total releases of toxic chemicals (involving the air, water and land ) increased for the second year in a row. Among the HAPs showing decline were hydrochloric acid and mercury. Likely reasons for the decreases seen over the past several years include installation of control technologies at coal fired power plants and a shift to other fuel sources. Releases into surface water decreased 3% and releases to land increased 19% since 2010, with the latter again due primarily to the metal mining sector which experienced increases in land disposal at metal mines.
“2011 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Analysis.” US Environmental Protection Agency, January 2013.