EPA: Decrease in toxic chemical releases

April 13, 2006

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report said Wednesday toxic chemicals released into the environment decreased 4 percent from 2003 to 2004.

"Today's report demonstrates that economic growth and effective environmental protection can go hand-in-hand," said Linda Travers, acting assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Environmental Information. "We are encouraged to see a continued reduction in the overall amount of toxic chemicals being released into the environment."

Officials said significant decreases occurred in some of the most toxic chemicals during the period, with dioxin and dioxin compounds decreasing by 58 percent, mercury and mercury compounds by 16 percent and polychlorinated biphenyls that went down 92 percent.

EPA's 2004 Toxics Release Inventory included toxics managed in landfills and underground injection wells in addition to those released into water and air. Also included were releases or other disposals of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, such as dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, PCBs, mercury and mercury compounds, lead and lead compounds, and several pesticides.

The EPA said the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment has declined 45 percent since 1998.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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