WASHINGTON—Total toxic air releases declined 8 percent in 2011 from the year before, although total toxic releases increased for the second year in a row, according to a new federal agency report.
Decreases in hazardous air pollutants, including hydrochloric acid and mercury, caused the air toxics level to fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in its study, the 2011 Toxics Release Inventory. Installation of control technologies at coal-fired power plants played a role in the decrease, as did a shift to other fuel sources, the agency said.
Toxic releases into surface water fell 3 percent in 2011 from 2010, but releases to land increased 19 percent, largely because of the metal mining sector, the EPA said.
The annual TRI is designed to provide U.S. citizens with vital information about toxic chemicals released into the air, water and land in their communities, the EPA said.