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EPA Announces Toxic Release Data for Year 2000; Lists Ten Largest Pollution Emitters in Massachusetts

Release Date: 05/23/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office (617-918-1014) Dwight Peavey, EPA TRI Coordinator (617-918-1829)

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the public availability of data covering toxic releases to the environment by power plants, manufacturers and other facilities in Massachusetts. The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data shows a total of 12,996,627 pounds of chemicals released in Massachusetts during 2000. The data shows an 85 percent drop from 1988. Totals and information on specific facilities are publically available on the world wide web.

New for the year 2000 reports, companies were required to report on the releases of a range of chemicals known as persistent bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs) which accumulate in fish and other organisms, including humans. The chemicals include mercury, dioxins, PCBs, and polycyclic aromatic compounds, all of which have adverse effects on women of child bearing age, pregnant women, fetuses and babies.

The 2000 data show a small two percent increase from 1999. However, since 1988, Massachusetts industries have reduced pollutant releases by 85 percent, compared to a national average decline of 48 percent.

"The Toxic Release Inventory is a tremendous tool for both citizens and the EPA to see what kinds of chemicals are being released to our environment, and see the progress we're making at reducing pollution," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "It's very good news that we now have information on dioxin and other PBT releases, which will help us track our progress as EPA and state agencies focus on reducing the emissions of these most dangerous compounds."

"Massachusetts has been at the forefront in tracking and reducing toxic releases and working with industry to reduce the use and release of these chemicals," said James C. Colman, Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Waste Prevention. "Since the Commonwealth's Toxics Use Reduction Act was passed, manufacturers have dramatically reduced their reliance on toxic chemicals and reduced their release, allowing the state to make tremendous progress in pollution prevention."

Today's data includes information on releases and other wastes from 667 toxic chemicals and chemical categories that companies are required to report under EPA's TRI Program. The data includes toxics released at the company's facility and those transported to disposal facilities off site. All manufacturing companies, as well as coal and oil fired power plants, that produce or use above the threshold limit for any chemical are required to participate. Thresholds range from thousands of pounds to 100 or ten pounds for PBTs, down to 0.1 grams for dioxin-like compounds.

The following is a list of Massachusetts' 10 largest on- and off-site emitters of the toxic chemicals. No attempt has been made to adjust the totals to reflect the relative seriousness of the chemicals emitted. It is important to note that these chemical emissions are reported to EPA under the TRI and do not reflect illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment.

Company Name,CityTotal Pounds Released
Salem Harbor Station, Salem 2,291,269
USGen New England Inc., Somerset 1,466,105
Somerset Power L. L. C., Somerset 907,228
Northeast Generation Services Mt. Tom Station, Holyoke 536,441
Southern Energy Canal Station, Sandwich 468,877
Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc., Lawrence 392,000
Globe Mfg. Corp., Fall River 335,730
Duro, Fall River190,179
Ideal Tape Co., Lowell 179,944
Rexam Image Prods., South Hadley 116,975

The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. The TRI provides the amount, location and type of release to the environment -- whether a pollutant is emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. It also includes information on waste shipped off-site for disposal or further treatment. The TRI has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention, measures.

TRI information is easily accessible to the news media and to the public. Information is available on-line, http://www.epa.gov/tri, in hard copy and in a variety of computer formats, including CD-ROM. For copies or more information, the public is encouraged to call EPA's toll-free Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Hotline at 1(800) 424-9346.