Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States

August 07, 2012

The electric power sector is the largest industrial source of toxic air pollution in the United States. Thanks to new standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic pollution from power plants will decline dramatically over the next several years. In fact, some companies have already begun reducing emissions in anticipation of the new standards.

The analysis reveals where in the country these standards will reduce the most toxic air pollution from power plants, using publicly-available data to rank states and power plants based on 2010 air pollution levels as reported to the EPA'a Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). Comparing emissions from the electric utilities sector to those from other sectors, the report reveals the top twenty states -- the Toxic 20 -- where residents are at a higher risk of numerous health problems just by breathing. The list includes many states from the southern and Midwestern regions in the United States, including North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.