The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its annual 2015 Toxics Release Inventory (“TRI”) National Analysis, which tracks the management of certain toxic chemicals that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. This information is gathered from American facilities in different industries, which must report annually on how much of each chemical is released to the environment and/or managed through recycling, energy recovery, and treatment. Overall, the report shows good news: releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015 at industrial facilities submitting data to the TRI program, including a 63 million pound decrease from 2014 to 2015.
Some other facts from this report:
–Hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, toluene, and mercury were among the chemicals with significant decreases in air releases.
–Coal- and oil-fired electric utilities accounted for more than 90% of the reduced releases of hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and mercury to air from 2005 to 2015.
–In 2015, 87% of toxic chemical waste managed was not released into the environment due to the use of preferred waste management practices such as recycling, energy recovery, and treatment.
–Facilities initiated more than 7,500 source reduction activities in 2015 that eliminate or reduce the generation of chemical waste.
The report also featured state-specific data, which revealed some interesting results for Illinois. The state ranked 9 out of 56 states/territories nationwide based on total releases per square mile, meaning that Illinois has the ninth highest amount of releases. While the state has had a significant decrease in total onsite release since 2005 (approximately 100 million pounds in 2005 versus approximately 75 million pounds in 2015), the amount has fluctuated throughout that ten-year period. While the amount dipped to 53 million pounds in 2009, it went up to almost 74 million pounds in 2014, and to approximately 75 million pounds in 2015.
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