EPA Says U.S. Toxic Chemical Emissions on the Wane
Total releases of toxic chemicals in the U.S. decreased by 12% in 2011 and 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, said in its annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The agency said the decrease includes an 8% decline in total toxic air releases, due primarily to reductions in hazardous air pollution emissions (HAPs).
Data for 2012 show that 3.6 billion lbs. of toxic chemicals were either disposed or otherwise released into the environment through air, water and land. There was also a decline in HAPs such as hydrochloric acid and mercury, which the agency said "constitutes a long-term trend."
In 2011 and 2012, toxic releases into surface water decreased by 3% and toxic releases to land receded by 16%. In 2012 for the first time, EPA said hydrogen sulfide was added to the TRI list. Reporting on the chemical had been deferred since 1994, while the agency completed further evaluation.
In another novelty, the environmental body said reporting is now required for facilities located in Indian country. This should be done according to the appropriate tribe, and not the state in which the facility is geographically located.
EPA said this year's analysis also includes interactive maps for each U.S. metropolitan and micropolitan area, with new information about industry efforts on waste management and pollution prevention practices as well as a new feature about chemical use in consumer products.