Toxics report shows slight dip in U.S. releases overall, mercury releases up
The U.S. EPA’s 2006 Toxics Release Inventory just came out, showing a slight decline in total toxic chemicals released in the country, as well as a 17 percent increase in releases of mercury. Individual states showed mixed results, with Arizona’s total toxic releases shooting up by 52 percent from 2005 to 2006 due almost entirely to pollution from one mine that released 59 million pounds of waste — over half the state’s total in 2006. Nine of the top 10 states in overall toxic emissions in 2006 were also in the top 10 in 2005, with Alaska remaining No. 1 in total toxic releases; the state released over 100 million pounds more than last year. Rounding out the rest of 2006’s top 10 are Ohio, Texas, Indiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Utah, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The 2006 figures reflected the EPA’s change to reporting requirements that let companies releasing less than 2,000 pounds of toxics use less detailed reporting.