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Massachusetts Companies Reduce Toxic Releases by 19% in Single Year, EPA Names Ten Largest Pollution Emitters

Release Date: 05/20/1997
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

Boston -- Massachusetts's manufacturers reduced the amount of toxics released into the air, water and land by 71% between 1988 and 1995, according to data released today by EPA's New England office. The improved environmental performance of Massachusetts's manufacturing facilities represents a reduction of 19% over the previous year, far out-pacing the 4.9% rate of improvement nationally and on par with the New England-wide improvement rate of 19%.

"We've made great progress in reducing the toxic chemicals released into the New England environment in the last nine years," said EPA's New England Administrator John P. DeVillars. "And we've grown our economy at the same time. This adds further credibility to our claim that smart environmental practices equal smart business practices."

"The Clinton-Gore administration has made the public's right to know about pollution in every community a top priority," said DeVillars. "Just last month the President called for approximately 6,100 new facilities -- an increase of about 30% -- to make public the levels of toxic chemicals they release into the air, water and land in communities across the country. The Clinton-Gore administration and EPA are empowering communities to hold industry and government accountable for environmental and public health protection."

The amount of toxic pollutants reported by Massachusetts' manufacturers to EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) declined from 8,581,000 pounds in 1994 to 6,937,000 in 1995. In 1988, when the inventory first came into use, Massachusetts' manufacturers released 26,064,000 pounds of toxics into the environment. Massachusetts' reduction of 71%, as well as the New England-wide drop of 74%, of toxic releases since 1988 compares favorably to the national reduction of 45.6% over the same period.

The following is a list of the ten top industrial facilities in Massachusetts in terms of number of pounds of chemicals emitted into the environment. It is important to note that these chemical emissions are reported to EPA under the TRI and do not reflect illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment.

Chemicals emitted
Plymouth RubberCanton480,000
Rexham GraphicsSouth Hadley461,217
Crown Cork & Seal Inc.Lawrence354,943
Globe Mfg. Co.Fall River312,368
Crest FoamNewburyport304,654
Electronic Concepts Inc. Lee280,717
Aerovox Inc.New Bedford203,525
Polaroid Corp.Waltham185,138
Polyfibron Techs. Inc.Adams176,700
Dennison Mfg. Co.Framingham174,384

"Despite our continued progress, this inventory also reminds us that we are still releasing tens of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into our environment each year," DeVillars added.

In Massachusetts, 46% of toxic wastes were recycled, 14% were used for energy recovery, 32% were treated, and 8% were released in 1995, according to the TRI.

The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. The TRI provides the amount, location and type of release to the environment -- whether a pollutant is emitted into the air, discharged into the water, or released onto the land. It also includes information on waste shipped off-site for disposal or further treatment. The TRI has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention, measures.

TRI information is easily accessible to the news media and to the public. Information is available on-line, in hard copy and in a variety of computer formats, including CD-ROM. For copies or more information, the public is encouraged to call EPA's toll-free Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Information Hotline at 1(800) 424-9346.