EPA releases national toxic pollution data
On- and off-site releases for all TRI industries totaled 7.10 billion pounds for 2000. These industries reported creating 37.89 billion pounds of production-related waste, which they partially treated or disposed.
Production-related waste increased by 8.39 billion pounds between 1998 and 2000, or 28.6 percent. The portion of these production wastes released to the environment decreased by 409 million pounds, or 5.5 percent, over the same period.
The data show that American industries continue to produce more and more toxic waste that is treated, burned or disposed in somebody's backyard.
Environmental groups said the new pollution data show the continued need for public health protections, and criticized the Bush Administration for weakening pollution laws, according to the Working Group on Community Right-to-Know.
The top five states for toxic releases from manufacturing industries are: Texas (245,761,545 pounds), Pennsylvania (139,337,978 pounds), Ohio (137,075,843 pounds), Louisiana (135,215,670 pounds) and Indiana (134,272,453 pounds).
The report reflects new reporting for some highly toxic chemicals that persist in the environment. Total on- and off-site releases of these long-lasting chemicals include:
- dioxin - 220 pounds;
- mercury - 4,316,662 pounds;
- polycyclic aromatics - 5,402,975 pounds;
- polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) - 1,460,916 pounds;
- eight highly persistent pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, isodrin, methoxychlor, pendimethalin, toxaphene, and trifluralin) - 82,443 pounds, and;
- 838,914 pounds of four other persistent toxic chemicals.
Industries released over a million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment, even though PCBs have been banned from electrical transformers and other uses. Much of this PCB waste went into hazardous waste landfills.
EPA plans to make TRI data available from www.epa.gov/tri. The non-profit group OMB Watch will make the data available soon from www.rtknet.org.