The US Environmental Protection Agency has just released its analysis of 2010 releases of toxic substances to the environment. Overall releases of toxic substances are up 16% over 2009.
Some of the analyses by substance are also somewhat disappointing. Total releases of carcinogenic chemicals increased 67% between 2009 and 2010 but decreased by 5% from 2001 to 2010. Releases of dioxins increased 18% from 2009 to 2010 but decreased by 65% from 2001 to 2010 with the chemicals and primary metals sectors being major contributors. Industry managed almost 1.2 billion pounds of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances in production-related waste in 2010, an increase of 19% over 2009 but
an overall reduction of 10% since 2001. Lead and lead compounds accounted for 97% (1.1 billion pounds) of the 2010 amount. Mercury and mercury compounds, polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), certain pesticides, dioxin and dioxin-like compounds and other chemicals made up the remainder.
The detailed report, including analyses by industry sector, is available at http://www.epa.gov/tri/ and click on National Analysis.