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Great Lakes Article:

Ashtabula County plant tops list of toxic polluters


John C. Kuehner -Ohio News
Plain Dealer Reporter

Ashtabula Township

- An Ashtabula County chemical plant was the region's top toxic air polluter in 2000, according to data from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Millennium Inorganic Chemicals Inc.'s two plants in Ashtabula Township put out 6.8 million pounds of carbonyl sulfide, an odorless, colorless toxic gas. The gas is a waste product generated by the plant as it manufactures white pigment used in paint, plastic and paper.

Ohio's coal-burning power plants ranked as the state's No. 1 source of toxic releases, accounting for one-third of all toxic pollution. The Avon Lake power plant was the state's No. 11 polluter overall and the second-highest polluter in the region.

The Ohio EPA put out the data last week in its Toxic Release Inventory Report, a document that lists more than 650 toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water that companies must report under federal law.

Overall, the report showed 1,704 manufacturing operations in Ohio released 328.9 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2000. Releases dropped 6.2 percent from the previous year.

The report, issued yearly since 1988, does not include public health risks for exposure to these chemicals. Some chemicals break down in the environment and become harmless. But other chemicals, such as mercury, dioxins and PCBs, accumulate in the body and environment.

Millennium's releases are within EPA's permit limits, said Scott Orris, director of manufacturing. The gas occurs naturally in the environment, according to the EPA. But breathing large amounts can affect the human nervous system and cause headaches, dizziness and similar symptoms. Millennium has not had any health issues associated with the emissions, Orris said.

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