Industrial emissions of toxic chemicals in the U.S. decreased 4% between 1995 and 1996, indicates the Environmental Protection Agency's latest annual report of data under its Toxic Release Inventory program. The overall decline, which totaled some 100 million pounds of chemicals, primarily resulted from drops in air emissions and releases of toxics to underground injection wells; these reductions more than made up for increases in chemicals dumped into water and onto the land, says the EPA.
The EPA's report is gleaned from data some 22,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities are required each year to submit to the agency on their releases of 500 hazardous chemicals. Seven new industrial sectors will be required to report beginning next year. Meanwhile, the EPA is asking industry to provide test data on about 3,000 widely used chemicals for which health and environmental effects are little known.