Toxic releases down from North American industry leaders, increasing from other facilities - New Mexican data support first trinational analysis of pollutant release and transfers

    MONTREAL, Oct. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The latest Taking Stock report from the
Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) reveals that a continued
decline in releases of toxic chemicals to the environment-15 percent for the
United States and Canada from 1998 to 2004-is being driven by a group of
industrial facilities that are the largest generators of emissions.
    The CEC report, however, also reveals that the leading role of the
largest waste-producing facilities stands in stark contrast to a substantial
increase in chemical releases and transfers by a much larger group of
industrial facilities that report lower volumes of emissions.
    Released today, the annual report compares industrial pollution from a
matched set of facilities in Canada and the United States-three million tonnes
of chemicals released or transferred in the two countries in 2004. Over
one-third of that amount was released at the location of reporting facilities,
including over 700,000 tonnes released to the air, with another third
transferred to recycling. For the first time, the CEC report also provides
data from Mexico. Across the three countries, metals and their compounds-lead,
chromium, nickel and mercury-were reported by the highest proportion of
    "The evidence is clear that industry and government action to limit
chemical releases is showing steady progress," said Adrian Vazquez-Galvez,
CEC's executive director. "It is equally clear that a large number of small
and medium-size industrial facilities need to do a better job in reducing
their waste and emissions if we are going to see even greater progress in
North America. We trust the progress shown by industry leaders and the fact
that pollution prevention is a proven strategy will encourage everyone to
tackle pollution issues at the source."
    The CEC's analysis demonstrates that facilities from Canada and the
United States that reported pollution prevention activities-product and
process redesign, spill and leak detection, and substituting raw
materials-showed reductions from 2002-2004. Facilities not engaged in these
activities did not show similar progress.
    A new chapter provides a detailed look at industrial recycling, finding
that over one-third of US and Canadian releases and transfers reported in
2004-more than 1 million tonnes-were recycled. Recycling has increased in
recent years due to increases in production and in scrap metal prices. Most of
the materials were metals, including copper, zinc, lead and their compounds.
    The trilateral analysis is based on matched data from some 9 industrial
sectors, 56 chemicals, and 10,000 facilities, comparing releases and transfers
for similar facilities in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The report
identifies a different pattern of releases and transfers in each of the three
    Comparisons of the three countries' industrial emissions will continue to
improve as the CEC works with governments, industry and NGOs to expand the
number of chemicals and facilities that are comparable.

    Taking Stock compiles data from Canada's National Pollutant Release
Inventory, the United States' Toxics Release Inventory, and, starting with its
first year of mandatory reporting in 2004, Mexico's pollutant release and
transfer register, the Registro de Emisiones y Transferencia de Contaminantes.

    Do you have a question about a particular facility, industrial sector,
province or state? The Taking Stock Online website (less
than) than) allows users to customize reports
by chemical, facility, sector or geographic region.

    Note as well that with new information on chemical releases and transfers
from Mexican industrial sources, the CEC has created the first seamless,
North America-wide map layer displaying point-specific industrial pollutant
data in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Using the Google Earth mapping
service, the CEC's map layer plots over 33,000 North American industrial
facilities that reported releases and transfers of pollutants in 2004. You can
access this information at: (less than)

For further information:

For further information: Danielle Vallée, Commission for Environmental
Cooperation, (514) 350-4333; Media Relations, Environment Canada, (819)
934-8008; Francisco Parra, Semarnat, + (52) 55 5628 0891; Suzanne Ackerman, US
Environmental Protection Agency, (202) 564-7819; Terry Collins, (416)

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