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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Charlestown's Kenyon Industries one of top ten toxic polluters in RI

By News staff with additional material from Progressive Charlestown staff

Releases of pollutants into the environment have increased in Rhode Island, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) for 2011.

TRI reporting provides vital information about communities nationwide by publishing information on toxic chemical disposals and releases into the air, land and water, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities in neighborhoods across the country, according to the EPA.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kenyon reports releasing just under 9,000 pounds of toxins into the air. According to its TRI report, most of it (8805 pounds) is toluene. According to its report, 1,412 pounds were uncontrolled (a.k.a. "fugitive") emissions and the rest were released through its venting stacks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control's agency that deals with toxic chemicals: "Toluene may affect the nervous system. Low to moderate levles can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped. Inhaling High levels of toluene in a short time can make you feel light-headed, dizzy, or sleepy. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death. High levels of toluene may affect your kidneys."

During 2011, the latest year for which data are available, about 18.96 million pounds of chemicals were released in the six New England states, a reduction of about 1.7 million pounds.

Rat brains: from the National Institutes of Health. Toluene is one of the
chemicals in glue that makes you high. The NIH says its effects on the
brain resemble amphetamines.
In Rhode Island, however, 97 facilities reported an increase of 17,307 pounds from 2010 to 2011.
TRI reporting includes information on chemicals released at a company’s facility, as well as those transported to disposal facilities off-site. TRI data don’t reflect the relative toxicity of the chemicals emitted or potential exposure to people living in a community with reported releases. Facilities must report their chemical disposals and releases by July 1 of each year.

Reporting under TRI doesn’t indicate illegal discharges of pollutants to the environment.

The top 10 chemicals released to the environment on- and off-site during 2011 in Rhode Island were: copper compounds, zinc compounds, toluene, methanol, xylene (mixed isomers), antimony compounds, copper, styrene, chromium compounds and certain glycol ethers.

The 10 facilities that reported the largest quantity of on- and off-site environmental releases in Rhode Island under TRI for 2011 were: 
  • Hord Crystal, 45 York Ave., Pawtucket; 
  • Chemart, 11 New England Way, Lincoln; 
  • Senesco main yard, 10 MacNaught St., North Kingstown; 
  • General Cable Industries, 3 Carol Drive, Lincoln; 
  • Honeywell Safety Products, 10 Thurber Blvd., Smithfield; 
  • Taco Inc., 1160 Cranston St., Cranston; 
  • Organic Dyestuffs Corp., 65-84 Valley St., East Providence; 
  • Kenyon Industries Inc., 36 Sherman Ave., Kenyon; 
  • Quartermoon Inc., 200 Highpoint Ave., Portsmouth; and 
  • Dewal Industries Inc., 15 Ray Trainor Drive, Narragansett.
For the complete Rhode Island report, click here.