"Industrial facilities nationwide covered by an Environmental Protection Agency program reported 'a substantial decrease' in toxic chemical releases between 2005 and 2015, according to the EPA Thursday afternoon (Jan. 12).
The government agency's Toxic Release Inventory program tracks the waste management of certain toxic chemicals that pose a threat to human health and the environment. The self-reported data does not include data for every pollutant released, just the toxins required by law to be reported. Facilities also only need to report chemical release data if the facility meets the agency's criteria.
The EPA said air releases of toxic chemicals dropped 56 percent, or 851 million pounds, since 2005. That amount includes a 63 million pound decrease in chemicals released from 2014 to 2015.
Chemicals with 'significant decreases in air releases' include hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, toluene, and mercury. The government credits coal and oil-fired electric utilities with more than 90 percent of the reduced air releases in the last decade."