Fewer chemicals were released into the air and water by Minnesota's largest manufacturing plants last year, while slightly more chemicals were treated at other sites, according to an annual state report.
The Minnesota Emergency Response Commission listed 400 facilities that handled 344 million pounds of chemicals last year.
Only companies that use more than a certain amount of about 600 different chemicals and have 10 or more employees are required to provide such information to the state.
They released 33 million pounds of chemicals into the environment compared with 32 million pounds in 1998 and 1999, according to The Right-to-Know Chemical Information Report.
The report also notes that the volume of pollutants released into the air, water and land actually declined, while the volume of chemicals treated at wastewater treatment plants or transferred to other sites increased.
That trend reflects a pattern evident since the late 1980s. For the first time, two persistently toxic chemicals, mercury and dioxin, were included in the report.
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