U.S. manufacturing facilities have slashed their emissions of a key set of hazardous air pollutants by more than one-half since 1990, a recently completed study of federal pollution figures shows.
The study, done for the American Chemistry Council (ACC), shows that firms engaged in the business of chemistry led all other U.S. businesses in cutting emissions of these substances.
According to the study, all U.S. manufacturing facilities reduced emissions of 30 key substances by 134.5 million pounds -- or 52 percent during the period.
Member companies of the ACC, the report shows, cut their emissions of the substances by 64 percent during the same period.
Ted Cromwell, co-leader of the council''s Air Issues Team, said the study was done to assist EPA in the implementation of its Integrated Air Toxics Strategy, a multi-year initiative designed to address the nation''s remaining air quality problems.
Later this summer, Cromwell said, EPA will release its estimates of the emissions of 33 hazardous air pollutants (called HAPs) and an assessment of each substance''s potential impact on public health.
This release will be based on 1996 data. The next release is scheduled for 2003.
Cromwell said the council supports development and public release of the National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA).
"However, we''re concerned that the agency isn''t having the emissions data -- and its assessment of the potential risks to people''s health -- reviewed by scientists for accuracy before its released," said Cromwell. "If the data is faulty, then there is a greater likelihood that our decisions will be wrong. Science helps take the guesswork out of policymaking. The better the science, the better the decisions."
The council has been working with EPA to improve NATA''s release, including making sure that people understand the data''s limitations.
The ACC represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry.
by Virginia Sutcliffe