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Following national trend, CT saw fewer toxic chemical releases in 2021

March 27, 2023 - Allnex Wallingford
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
This building is on the grounds of Allnex USA Inc., a resin manufacturer, in Wallingford, Conn. The company was on the EPA’s list of companies with the largest releases of toxic chemicals in Connecticut in a 2021 report that showed chemical releases on the decline in the state.

A new analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that toxic chemical releases nationwide dropped in 2021 compared with the prior year.

The EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis looks at toxic releases from tracked facilities into the air, water and land. The report doesn’t count illegal pollution.

"Making this information publicly available also incentivizes companies to reduce pollution and gives communities tools to act locally — which is particularly important for underserved communities that have historically been disproportionately impacted by pollution,” David Cash, EPA New England regional administrator, said in a statement.

New Haven and Hartford counties accounted for well over half of the facilities releasing chemicals in the state, according to the EPA. There were more than 134 million pounds of chemicals from production-related waste.

The report found that chemical releases nationally were higher in 2020 — the first year of the COVID pandemic. But Connecticut mirrored the nation in seeing a year-over-year drop in pollution releases in 2021.

The report also notes a more optimistic long-term trend, saying national toxic releases dropped by about 10% over roughly the last decade.

In 2021, Vermont and New Hampshire also saw fewer toxic releases from the year prior, but Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts had an increase.

Connecticut also had 37% fewer air emissions in the last decade, the analysis shows. Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire also saw a decrease.

The analysis also includes releases of PFAS. It found that those “forever chemicals” were released at a higher level in 2021 compared with 2020. This comes on the heels of the EPA’s new proposed PFAS limits to curb pollution.

Under the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, facilities must submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities.

Michayla Savitt is a reporter at CT Public, with an interest in covering climate change and the environment. She was a newsroom intern for the station in summer 2022, but began her time there as a production intern for WNPR's local talk shows. Michayla is an alumna of the health & science reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before that, she was a reporter/anchor for various radio outlets in New York state.