Report Blames Manufacturers For Emissions Harmful To Kids

Compiled By Glenn Hasek A new report released by the National Environmental Trust, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Learning Disabilities Assn. of America indicates that U.S. industry released 24 billion pounds of developmental and neurological toxins into the environment in 1998. The report, "Polluting Our Future: Chemical Pollution in the U.S. that Affects Child Development and Learning," reveals that U.S. firms reported only 5% of estimated total emissions of toxins to air and water. According to the report, Louisiana and Texas are the two states that emit the most toxins. Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida are also major emitters. Chemical manufacturers; makers of paper, metal, and plastics; and electric power utilities are the largest emitters, the report states. "This is the first complete snapshot we've ever had of toxic pollution in this country that can affect the way that children's bodies and brains develop," says Jeff Wise, policy director of the National Environmental Trust. Based on recent estimates by the National Academy of Sciences, more than 360,000 U.S. children suffer from developmental or neurological disabilities caused by a range of toxic exposures. The report shows that pollution affecting child development and learning has a disproportionate impact on minorities. African-American populations exceed the national average in most counties with the highest releases of developmental toxins.

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