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EPA: Industrial Chemical Emissions Cut In Half Over Past Decade

Between 2014 and 2015, emissions declined by 8 percent.

Mnet 125054 Chememissions

The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that industrial facilities cut their emissions of toxic chemicals in half from 2005 to 2015.

The agency's annual Toxics Release Inventory National Analysis showed that releases of those chemicals into the air fell 56 percent over that span. Between 2014 and 2015, emissions declined by 8 percent.
The TRI program collects data each year from nearly 22,000 facilities in manufacturing, mining, electric utilities, commercial hazardous waste management and other industrial sectors.

Those plants must detail toxic chemical releases for the previous year by July 1 and compile information on pollution prevention and other waste management procedures.

The EPA said that the report showed "significantly lower air releases" of hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, mercury and toluene, and that the vast majority of reductions in the first three chemicals were due to actions by coal- and oil-fired utilities -- including implementing environmental regulations and installing emission control technologies -- as well as the shift from coal to alternative fuel sources.

The agency said those pollutants were linked to respiratory irritation, nervous system development damage and other health issues.

"Today’s report shows action by EPA, state and tribal regulators and the regulated community has helped dramatically lower toxic air emissions over the past 10 years,” said Jim Jones, the EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

The EPA also indicated that more than 90 percent of total chemical waste in 2015 was treated, recycled, recovered or otherwise not released into the environment, although that total did not include the metal mining segment, "which presents only limited opportunities for pollution prevention."

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