Quality Metal Finishing Co. of Byron among four Illinois facilities cited in EPA study
WASHINGTON, D.C.According to an analysis of the most recent version of Environmental Protection Agencys Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database, four Illinois facilities rank in the top 100 of the country for releases of cancer-causing pollutants into local air, reported Environmental Defense recently. The analysis appeared on Scorecard at www.environmentaldefense.org/go/scorecard.cancer. The site, which is run by Environmental Defense, translates environmental information into an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand format.
All facilities in the top 100 released more than 100,000 pounds of cancer-causing pollutants to their communities air in 2002 alone, said Dr. John Balbus, director of the health program at Environmental Defense. Even though these releases are not unlawful, there is clearly a lot of room for improvement. The public has a right to know where the biggest releases are occurring, and facilities bear the responsibility to show that their pollution doesnt pose an unacceptable risk.
Under the TRI program, facilities must report their releases of more than 650 toxic chemicals each year to EPA, which then compiles the data into a national database. The 2002 database, which this analysis is based on, is the most recent available.
Following is information for the ranked facilities in Illinois, including national rank and pounds of cancer-causing pollution emitted in 2002:
No. 16ADM Decatur Corn Processing Plant, 385,415 pounds;
No. 30ADM Peoria, 254,014 pounds;
No. 67Quality Metal Finishing Co., Byron, 158,827 pounds; and
No. 84General Electric Co., Ottawa, 149,400.
Although EPA released copies of individual companies 2003 TRI reporting forms, the agency has yet to release the national database that compiles information from those forms in a usable format. In prior years, EPA typically has taken close to a year to make the data publicly available in a searchable form.
This country needs to get a handle on our pollution problem, but its very difficult to do if the most current public data set on toxic releases is more that two years old, said Environmental Defense senior policy analyst Carol Andress. The public deserves a more timely release of this critical information.
Scorecard allows users to distinguish releases of cancer-causing chemicals from other chemicals, and to distinguish releases to air from releases to other media. See www.environmentaldefense.org/go/scorecard.toxicstates. Air releases are of special concern because individuals have a particularly hard time minimizing their own exposures to airborne pollutants.
Scorecard also provides information about chemicals relative toxicity, as well as their recognized and suspected health impacts. See www.scorecard.org/health-effects/. Since its launch in 1998, Scorecard has been shining a spotlight on the countrys polluters and helping citizens understand the health implications of pollution in their neighborhoods.
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 400,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.