SOCMA Members Reducing Toxic Emissions

In response to government data that show specialty chemical makers are reducing their environmental footprint, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) is crediting its member companies for significantly decreasing toxic chemical releases to the environment.

The association states the trend is a product of its “ongoing commitment to help its members continually improve their environmental performance.” As a condition of membership, each active SOCMA member company participates in ChemStewards, an environmental, health, safety and security program designed to demonstrate continuous improvement.

The program collects various environmental data, such as the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which provides the public information about a company’s chemical releases and waste management activities. The data consists of total pounds of releases and disposal of toxic chemicals to air, land and water.

According to J. Holland Jordan, Ph.D., director of ChemStewards, total reported TRI releases from 2007 to 2010 have been reduced by 32% from over 2.3 million pounds in 2007 to just below 1.6 million pounds in 2010. The average year-on-year reduction is 12%.

Reductions in TRI air releases have shown the strongest decreasing trend with a 13% year-on-year decline. Companies have shown steady continual improvement with a reduced total of air releases of almost 2.3 million pounds in 2007 to just below 1.5 million pounds in 2010.

From 2007 to 2009, TRI land release data showed a 48% reduction from 6,359 pounds in 2007 to 1,318 pounds in 2009. Although there was a slight increase in 2010, land data still shows a negative slope, which provides an indication of continual improvement. For the average SOCMA member, TRI water release data shows a decreasing trend from 1,220 pounds in 2007 to 1,040 pounds in 2010.

“While positive numerical forecasts on individual TRI data trends can be made based on current information, it is important to note that as part of their commitment to ChemStewards, member companies are closely monitoring this, as well as other EHS&S metrics, to help drive overall performance,” said Jordan.

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