Web Site Ranks Factories By Cancer Threats

Feb. 10, 2000
The Environmental Defense group has created a national ranking of factories based on the risk they pose from toxic chemical releases.

The group Environmental Defense (formerly Environmental Defense Fund) has created a national ranking of factories based on the risk they pose from toxic chemical releases.

Environmental Defense used EPA data to estimate risk from air emissions. The calculations appear on the group's Scorecard Web site.

Under the federal Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program, thousands of U.S. industrial facilities report the number of pounds of toxic chemicals they emit each year.

"We're starting to translate the raw numbers on toxic emissions into the level of health risk that they pose for people living near the source," said Environmental Defense toxicologist Dr. Bill Pease. "It's a translation that's long overdue."

The Web site allows rankings of facilities by cancer risk from their air emissions at the national, state, or county level.

Three facilities are tied for the country's highest cancer risk from air emissions, based on 1997 TRI reports, each showing an added cancer risk of 1,000 per million for the surrounding population.

These facilities are E.I.S. Brake Parts in Manila, Ark.; Featherlite Inc. in Cresco, Iowa; and Allegheny Ludlum Corp. Allvac Latrobe Plant in Latrobe, Pa.

The calculations rely on each facilities own most current TRI report, along with estimates of facility-by-facility exposures taken from the EPA's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators Project.

"Government itself could be providing these health-risk estimates to the public, since it has everything it needs to do the math," said David Roe, attorney for Environmental Defense.

Roe noted that most of the nearly 6,000 individual TRI facilities for which calculations could be made, did not show significant cancer risk from their air emissions of TRI chemicals.

Pease stressed the accuracy limits of the cancer-risk figures. "These are state-of-the-art statistical estimates, but not certainty," he explained. "They are appropriately used as a gauge of progress in reducing pollution and to compare one facility's risk level with another's."

Any facility with its own information about the risk of its chemical emissions, including its own measurements of the public's exposure, can post it directly on the Scorecard site at www.scorecard.org, without charge, for public viewing.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!