EPA Annual Report Shows Decline in Toxic Chemical Releases

Compiled By Jill Jusko The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's annual report on the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment shows that the manufacturing industry's releases declined slightly in 2000. According to the report, manufacturing industries accounted for 32% of all releases in 2000 -- the latest year for which data are available -- which is down 2.6% from 1999. The metal mining industry continues to be the most substantial contributor to the release of toxic chemicals, accounting for 47% or about 3.4 billion pounds in 2000. This represents a more than 14% decrease over 1999. The Toxic Release Inventory shows a continuing decline in overall releases, according to the EPA, with releases down by about 48% since 1988. Total toxic chemical releases into the environment reached 7.1 billion pounds in 2000. That's down 700 million pounds from the previous year. Most of the releases were to land (69%), followed by air (27%).

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