EPA: Mixed tally for toxic releases in California

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week released its latest Toxic Release Inventory data — which means 2011′s data; not 2012′s.

The inventory tracks the release of various toxic chemicals by factories into the ground, air, or water; or toxins that are shipped off-site.

Compared to 2010, California in 2011 saw:

  • Air releases of toxins decrease 13% (1 million lbs.).
  • Water releases increase 10% (258,000 lbs.).
  • On-site land releases increases 9% (2 Million lbs.).
  • Underground Injection releases decrease 67% (2.5 million lbs.) since 2010.
  • Total off-site transfers have increased 72% (2.5 million lbs.) since 2010.

EPA officials caution that release data alone isn’t sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential risks to human health and the environment. The information is useful in concert with factors such as the toxicity of the chemical, into what medium it is released (air, water, etc.) and site-specific conditions.

“Community Right-to-Know data helps all of us remain aware of the types and amounts of chemicals being used in our neighborhoods,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest, in a release. “It is great to see pollution prevention activities at reporting facilities, and we encourage them to reduce their chemical releases via this method.”