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From Tonawanda, N.Y. to Hayden, Ariz., hundreds of U.S. communities are still exposed to pollutants, which can cause cancer, birth defects and other health issues — more than 20 years after passage of the Clean Air Act.
Catch up on the
entire Poisoned Places series, use an interactive map to find toxic polluters in your area or read more about the reporting process behind the investigation.
complaints Regarding ‘carbon black,’ a fine, carbon-based dust and possible carcinogen, from the residents of Ponca City, Okla., over an eighteen-year period. Most complaints were closed after inspectors
couldn’t physically see carbon black coming out of a plant.
acres Size of the tailings, or mining waste, pile from a
copper smelter in Hayden, Ariz. Huge dust clouds from the ore pile, which spans more than 3 sq. miles, have at times obscured visibility for the town’s residents.
facilities High-pollution plants the EPA placed on their internal ‘watch list,’ which
includes serious or chronic violators of the Clean Air Act.
˚F Heat necessary to incinerate the hazardous waste of the Ash Grove Cement Company, a plant in Chanute, Kan., whose cement kiln
falls into a loophole of EPA’s air pollution standards, and emits hundreds of pounds of mercury into the air.
days The minimum delay between the discovery of a Clean Air Act violation, and
inclusion on EPA’s ‘watch list.’
% Percentage of reported leads of hazardous air pollution the EPA actually investigates — from there, roughly one-third of those leads
result in criminal charges.
% Percentage of
increased birth defects in the three counties surrounding ‘Refinery Row,’ in Corpus Christi, Texas, as compared to the rest of the state.
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