From: The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, S.C.
Published January 6, 2005 12:00 AM

3 Orangeburg, S.C.-Area Plants Release Cancer-Causing Pollutants

Jan. 6--Three Times and Democrat Region industrial facilities ranked in the top 100 nationally for releases of cancer-causing pollutants for 2002, according to a report released Wednesday by the Environmental Defense agency.

Orangeburg's Albemarle Corporation ranked 10th in the nation with the release of 507,081 pounds of carcinogenic pollution into the air, according to an analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory database.

The EPA database listed dichloromethane, formaldehyde and aniline as the top three chemical pollutants released at the Albemarle Corp. plant. Carcinogens are classified as chemicals capable of inducing cancer in humans or animals after prolonged or excessive exposure.

Dichloromethane is used in a number of industrial processes, particularly as a solvent. The chemical was the largest cited air pollutant at the plant.

The Georgia-Pacific Fiberboard Plant in Holly Hill ranked 79th in 2002 with the release of 152,488 pounds of carcinogenic pollution. Formaldehyde (used in lumber and wood products) and lead compounds were also cited in the report.

The Eastman Chemical Co. Voridian Division in Calhoun County ranked 93rd with 140,099 pollution pounds released. Acetaldehyde (found in industrial particleboard), lead compounds and 1,4-Dioxane were the listed predominate air release chemicals.

All air emissions at the plants listed in the report are considered within the required legal limits set by government health and safety standards.

Calls placed to plant officials were not immediately returned Wednesday.

The analysis appears on Scorecard at Scorecard also provides information about chemicals' relative toxicity, as well as their recognized and suspected health impacts.

"All facilities in the top 100 released more than 100,000 pounds of cancer-causing pollutants to their communities' air in 2002 alone," stated Dr. John Balbus, director of the health program at Environmental Defense. "Even though these releases are not unlawful, there is clearly a lot of room for improvement. The public has a right to know where the biggest releases are occurring and facilities bear the responsibility to show that their pollution doesn't pose an unacceptable risk."

Under the TRI program, facilities must report their releases of more than 650 toxic chemicals each year to the EPA, which then compiles the data into a national database.

The 2002 database is the most recent available.

"This country needs to get a handle on our pollution problem, but it's very difficult to do if the most current public data set on toxic releases is more that two years old," Environmental Defense senior policy analyst Carol Andress stated. "The public deserves a more timely release of this critical information."

Below is information for the other ranked facilities in South Carolina. They are listed by national rank, facility name, city and pounds of cancer-causing pollution emitted in 2002.

1, 3v Inc., Georgetown, 212,599

34, Bowater Inc. Coated & Specialty Papers Div., Catawba, 238,901

68, Meadwestvaco North Charleston Ops, North Charleston, 157,916

70, Wellman Inc. Palmetto Plant, Darlington, 157,074

89, International Paper Georgetown Mill, Georgetown, 143,781

98, International Paper, Eastover, 133,340

99, Weyerhaeuser Co., Bennettsville, 133,054.

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