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Toxic chemical releases decreased in 2012, EPA reports

From the February 5, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 5, 2014

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
Total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report. Toxic chemical releases to air decreased 8 percent from 2011 to 2012, continuing a long-term trend driven mainly by decreases in acid gas releases from electric utilities. These decreases at electric utilities are due mainly to the installation of control technologies and a shift from coal to other fuels, EPA said.

The 2012 data show that 3.63 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were either disposed or otherwise released into the environment through air, water and land. There was also a decline in releases of hazardous air pollutant emissions such as hydrochloric acid and mercury, which continues a long-term trend, EPA said. Between 2011 and 2012, toxic releases into surface water decreased 3 percent and toxic releases to land decreased 16 percent. 

This year's TRI national analysis report includes new analyses and interactive maps for each U.S. metropolitan and micropolitan area, new information about industry efforts to reduce pollution through green chemistry and other pollution prevention practices, and a new feature about chemical use in consumer products, the agency said.

More information is available at


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro