Thursday, April 17, 2008

Corporate Air Polluters

Top Corporate Air Polluters Named

World Wire:

Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts today released the Toxic 100, an updated list of the top corporate air polluters in the United States.

“The Toxic 100 informs consumers and shareholders which large corporations release the most toxic pollutants into our air,” said James K. Boyce, director of PERI's environment program. “We measure not just how many pounds of pollutants are released, but which are the most toxic and how many people are at risk. People have a right to know about toxic hazards to which they are exposed. Legislators need to understand the effects of pollution on their constituents.”

The Toxic 100 index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from industrial facilities across the United States. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but also the relative toxicity of chemicals, nearby populations, and transport factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks.

Users of the web-based list can view the details behind each company’s Toxic Score, including the names and locations of individual facilities owned by the corporation, the specific chemicals emitted by those facilities, their toxicities, and their contributions to the company's overall score.

A new feature of the website is a look-up tool that allows users to access detailed information on all 7,000 companies with facilities in the EPA database as well as the Toxic 100 list of top polluters.

The Toxic 100 index tackles all three problems by using the most recent Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) data developed by the EPA. In addition to the TRI data, the RSEI data include toxicity weights and the number of people at risk. PERI researchers added up facility-by-facility RSEI data released by the EPA to construct corporate rankings.

“In making this information available, we are building on the achievements of the right-to-know movement,” Boyce explains. “Our goal is to engender public participation in environmental decision-making, and to help residents translate the right to know into the right to clean air.”

More information: PERI's Corporate Toxic Information Project.

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