Public Awareness of Toxic Pollutants

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today released 8/15/12 their 4th Toxic 100 Air Polluters (, an updated list of the top corporate air polluters in the U.S.

“The Toxic 100 Air Polluters informs consumers and shareholders which large corporations release the most toxic pollutants into our air,” said Professor James Boyce, co-director of PERIs Corporate Toxics Information Project. “We assess not just how many pounds of pollutants are released, but which are the most toxic and how many people are at risk. People have a right to know about toxic hazards to which they are exposed. Legislators need to understand the effects of pollution on their constituents.”
The Toxic 100 Air Polluters Index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from tens of thousands of industrial facilities across the U.S. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but also the toxicity of chemicals, factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks, and the number of people exposed. 

The top five air polluters among large corporations are: 

  • The German-owned Bayer Group, 
  • Textron Inc., 
  • General Electric Co.,
  • Precision Castparts, and
  • Koch Industries.

The Toxic 100 Air Polluters rankings include large privately held firms, such as Koch Industries, as well as the world’s largest publicly traded corporations.
The Toxic 100 Air Polluters also includes information on the disproportionate risks from industrial air pollution for minorities and low-income communities. This makes it possible to compare corporations and facilities in terms of their environmental justice performance as well as overall pollution. For example, the data reveal that minorities bear 69 percent of the air toxics risk from facilities owned by ExxonMobil, while minorities make up less than 40 percent of the U.S. population.
Title: TOXIC 100 Names Top Corporate Air Polluters: 4th edition includes some long-term top polluters, some new
Date: 8/15/12
Author: Marc Ash
Faculty Evaluator: Erv Peterson, Sonoma State University
Student Researcher: Joel Gibson, Sonoma State University