EPA announced that total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8 percent from 2010, mostly because of decreases in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions.

Total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8 percent from 2010, mostly because of decreases in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions, even while total releases of toxic chemicals increased for the second year in a row, according to the EPA annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report.

The annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) provides the public with vital information about chemicals in our communities. The TRI program collects information on certain 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. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA, states and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities and commercial hazardous waste facilities.

“The Toxics Release Inventory provides widespread access to valuable environmental information. It plays a critical role in EPA’s efforts to hold polluters accountable and identify and acknowledge those who take steps to prevent pollution,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Since 1998, we have recorded a steady decline in the amount of TRI chemicals released into the air, and since 2009 alone, we have seen more than a 100 million pound decrease in TRI air pollutants entering our communities. This remarkable success is due in part to the TRI program and concerted efforts by industry, regulators and public interest groups to clean up the air we all depend upon.”

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 percent and releases to land increased 19 percent since 2010, with the latter again due primarily to the metal mining sector.

Many of the releases from TRI facilities are regulated under various EPA programs and requirements designed to limit harm to people’s health and the environment.

EPA’s 2011 TRI Shows Air Pollutants Continue to Decline
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