Virginia residents have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to air quality. According to the EPA’s annual Toxic Release Inventory, five facilities located in Virginiareleased a total of 2.9 million pounds of toxic pollutants into the air in 2012.
What Cities in Virginia Are Effected?
According to the list “Top 15 Localities With the Highest Toxic Air Emissions in Virginia”, provided by Virginia Chapter Sierra Club, a local organization responsible for building healthy communities and conserving and restoring the natural environment, the following cities are affected:
- Covington, VA
- Hopewell, VA
- Chesterfield County, VA
- Buchanan County, VA
- Chesapeake, VA
- Cleveland, VA
- West Point, VA
- Richmond City, VA
- Colonial Heights/Chesterfield, VA
- Narrows, VA
- James City County, VA
- York County, VA
- Isle of Wight, VA
- Montgomery County, VA
- Lynchburg, VA
Four out of the 15 cities listed are in the Richmond metropolitan area.
In a news release, the EPA stated, “The majority of the pollutants emitted into Richmond’s air are potent lung irritants such as ammonia, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, which explains in part why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks Richmond No. 1 as the asthma capital of the United States.”
Other chemicals released around the Virginia area include acetaldehyde, which is linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological damage, methanol, which may also contribute to neurological damage and birth defects and phenol, which can cause genetic mutations and liver and kidney damage.
Some of the companies responsible for the emitting toxic substances are Philip Morris USA’s manufacturing facilities, Dominion Virginia Power’s Chesterfield generating station, and Dupont’s Spruance plant.
What’s being done about this Excessive Pollution?
Glen Besa, director of the Sierra Club, said “Hopefully this report will encourage workers and community residents to keep asking tough questions about potential health risks and to continue to push officials for answers.”
However according to Jeff Caldwell, a spokesman for Philip Morris USA, the emissions from Philip Morris USA’s 500 plant were reduced by 10 percent between 2010 and 2013.
The other companies listed are following suit and trying to reduce the amount of pollutants emitted into Virginia’s air.