Forty-three percent of industrial air pollution in North America comes from electricity utilities, according to a study by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation.MONTREAL, Quebec, CA, 2001-08-27 [SolarAccess.com] Forty-three percent of industrial air pollution in North America comes from electricity utilities, according to a study by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Utilities contribute 25 percent of industrial pollution generally, according to CEC’s annual ‘Taking Stock’ analysis of 165 chemical pollutants discharged in the United States and Canada. Electricity generators ranked number one for both on-site and off-site pollution releases, followed by the primary metals sector, the chemical industry and hazardous waste management sectors. More than three-quarters of the total pollution released by the electricity sector comprised a mix of hydrochloric and sulphuric acid released into the air. Coal and oil-burning power stations were responsible for more than one-quarter of all releases, as reported to federal authorities in both countries. These emissions represent 436,000 tonnes of chemicals in total. Combined, all types of industrial facilities in North America released 1.6 megatonnes of chemicals in 1998. Carcinogens comprised 15 percent of the total, of which 84,286 tonnes (34%) was released into the air. The states of Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana, combined with the province of Ontario, accounted for 30 percent of all the polluting releases in North America in 1998. Ohio was responsible for the most on-site air emissions, on-site land discharges and off-site transfers for recycling; Texas was home to the largest on-site underground injection program; Ontario had the largest off-site releases; Michigan had the largest off-site transfers of polluting wastes for energy recovery; and Indiana was responsible for the second largest number of off-site transfers for recycling. The report shows improvement, with a 4 percent decrease in the amount of pollutants over the four years of the report’s existence. This equates to a drop of 49,000 tonnes. “The downward trend in on-site releases from 1995 through 1998 certainly is encouraging,” says CEC executive director Janine Ferretti. “At the same time, the increases in releases and transfers off-site are of concern.” Data are not yet available for Mexico, but that government said last month that it intends to propose mandatory reporting, which would make it possible for CEC to compare data for all three members of the North American free trade agreement. The current data do not include all chemicals or sources of pollution such as dry cleaners, petrol stations and vehicles. Also not covered, because of differences in the US and Canadian reporting systems, are releases from the metals mining sector.