EPA: Utah among highest producers of toxic chemicals in the US

Barrels of toxic chemicalsUtah’s production of toxic chemicals in 2016 reached 273 million pounds, which was the third highest in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA’s Toxic Releases Inventory report based its findings on more than 18,000 facilities in the U.S. It included businesses in the chemicals, manufacturing, mining and utilities sector. It indicates that a hazardous transporter in Utah like Enviro Care Inc. may be more than necessary.

Toxic States

Alaska emerged as the top producer of toxic chemicals in the previous year. Its 834 million pounds of toxins stood far behind Nevada, which produced 317 million pounds. Texas and Louisiana completed the top five with 210 million pounds and 147 million pounds of produced toxins, respectively.

The report defined a release as something “emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal.” The most common toxins comprised zinc and lead compounds, which are commonly produced in the mining industry. While Utah may have the third highest amount of produced toxic waste, the state’s analysts believe that there is more than meets the eye.

Some Misconceptions

The report implies the volume of waste and toxins in each state, yet it should not be construed as a measure for pollution. Melissa Ottley of the state’s department of environmental quality said that “reporting volumes of releases is not reporting exposures.”

There is a possibility of a low concentration of toxic chemicals in waste materials, despite the high volume of production, according to Ottley. Still, the report emphasized the importance of environmental policies in the state should be effective in mitigating risks for families.


The amount of waste produced in Utah should serve as a guide on how businesses in the state can improve their sustainability efforts. How does your business reduce the amount of waste released into the environment?