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EPA: Toxic chemicals releases dropped 12% in 2012

February 10, 2014

<photocredit>Mihajlo Maricic/iStockphoto/Thinkstock</photocredit>

The United States managed to reduce toxic chemicals releases in 2012 by 12%, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, quoting figures from its new Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report.

Overall, 3.63 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the air, water or land in 2012, the report found. There was an 8% decline in the amount of chemicals released in the air, which could mostly be attributed to achievements in reducing total hazardous air pollutant emissions. There was also a 3% fall in releases in waterways and a 16% decrease in chemical releases to land.

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Commenting on the figures, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that the TRI report aims to give the public access to information regarding toxic chemicals that are being released into the environment by businesses and organizations. By publishing this information through reports, maps and online tools the agency is helping to protect public health and the environment, she added.

This year's TRI report includes information on some aspects that have never been reported before. One of the additions to the inventory is data on releases of hydrogen sulfide. In 2012, 25.8 million pounds of the toxic chemical were released to air, with the bulk of that coming from the paper, petroleum and chemical industries.

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