Report blames petroleum industry for 25% of toxic pollutants

June 11, 2009
An oil refinery in California
An oil refinery in California. The US petroleum industry accounted for a quarter of toxic pollutants recorded across North America in 2005 by a government-backed environmental watchdog, an annual report said on Wednesday.

The US petroleum industry accounted for a quarter of toxic pollutants recorded across North America in 2005 by a government-backed environmental watchdog, an annual report said on Wednesday.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) -- created by Canada, the United States and Mexico -- said 90 percent of toxic pollutants came from just over a dozen industries.

Aside from oil and gas extraction, mining, wastewater treatment, electric utilities and chemical manufacturing are named as the principle offenders.

"Ninety percent of the 5.5 billion kilograms of toxic pollutant releases and transfers reported in North America in 2005 can be traced to just 30 substances from 15 industrial sectors across the United States, Canada and Mexico," it said.

The US petroleum industry reported 1.5 billion kilograms "of toxic pollutants reported by all sectors in 2005" the CEC said.

"Analysis of 2002-2005 reporting by Canadian and US petroleum refineries and bulk storage terminals discloses that, on average, about seven million kilograms of carcinogens and developmental or reproductive toxicants were released annually.

"Most of these pollutants were released to air and water."

Adrian Vazquez-Galvez, the body's executive director said the report "presents the clearest view ever of industrial pollution in North America."

But, he admitted, the picture was incomplete, with difference in reporting standards across industries and the three countries involved.

"(The report) reveals some major blind spots," Vazquez-Galvez said.

"This information is critical to government, industry, and communities, and highlights issues of comparability and areas for further action on pollution reduction to address potential environmental and human health issues," he said.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: New report looks at the state of the North American environment

Related Stories

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.

Recommended for you

New research leverages big data to predict severe weather

June 21, 2017

Every year, severe weather endangers millions of people and causes billions of dollars in damage worldwide. But new research from Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) and AccuWeather has found ...

Scientists solve mystery of unexplained 'bright nights'

June 21, 2017

Dating back to the first century, scientists, philosophers and reporters have noted the occasional occurrence of "bright nights," when an unexplained glow in the night sky lets observers see distant mountains, read a newspaper ...

Measuring biological dust in the wind

June 21, 2017

In the popular children's story "Horton Hears a Who!" author Dr. Seuss tells of a gentle and protective elephant who stumbles upon a speck of dust that harbors a community of microscopic creatures called the Whos living the ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Egnite
1 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2009
Yet the government classes a natural gas (CO2) as more of a threat! Suppos GW is only a method used to divert the attention of the public from real/serious issues...
THEY
1 / 5 (1) Jun 11, 2009
Egnite - that is because government doesn't hold its breath enough....
Velanarris
not rated yet Jun 16, 2009
So where did the solar panel/LCD industry rank with their copious amounts of NF3 exhaust?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.