Bayer Group, Koch Ind, General Electric, ExxonMobil, BASF and Dow Chemicals are among the top 10 worst air polluters among large US corporations, says a research study released recently by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts.

The researchers, who have been keeping track of large corporations and bring out a list of Toxic 100 Air Polluters Index each year, said the index was based on air releases of hundreds of distinct chemicals from tens of thousands of industrial facilities across the US.

The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but also the toxicity of chemicals, transport factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks, and the number of people exposed, a PERI release said.

“We assess 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,” said James Boyce, co-director of PERI’s Corporate Toxics Information Project.

The data on chemical releases comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory. PERI researchers add up facility-by-facility data published by the EPA to construct corporate rankings and have put these up their Website.

“In making this information available, we are building on the achievements of the right-to-know movement,” said Michael Ash, co-Director of the Corporate Toxics Information Project.

He added that “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.”

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 21, 2012)
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