Industrial pollution in U.S. and Canadian lakes, rivers, and streams rose 26 percent from 1995 to 1999, according to a report released yesterday by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the environmental watchdog agency of the North American Free Trade Association. The report, entitled “Taking Stock,” examined data on 210 chemicals from 21,500 facilities in the U.S. and Canada. (Under NAFTA agreements, Mexico is not yet required to report on pollution releases and transfers, although 117 facilities voluntarily reported.) About 8 percent of the total releases included chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive problems. The biggest regional polluters were Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, and just 15 of the 21,500 facilities accounted for 7 percent of the pollution produced.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.