The EPA report, which estimated total toxic emissions at 7.8 billion pounds, prompted environmental groups to call for increased regulatory efforts to address the situation.
The metal mining industry accounted for half the toxic releases and reported the biggest increase, at 11.7%, or 416 million pounds. Electric utilities placed second, with just under 1.2 billion pounds, up 24.9 million pounds or 2.2%. The coal mining industry showed a 9.7% drop in toxic emissions, down 1.3 million pounds to 11.8 million pounds. Nevada and Utah reported the largest volume of chemical releases from all industries, about 1.2 billion pounds each, followed by Arizona with 963.3 million pounds, Alaska with 433 million pounds and Texas at 313.9 million pounds.
The EPA said the annual report reflects releases and other waste management activities related to chemicals, not exposure of the public to those chemicals. “The release estimates alone are not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential adverse effects on human health and the environment,” the agency said.
The EPA’s toxic release inventory (TRI) data can be found on the agency’s website at www.epa.gov/tri.