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Central Ohio County Sees Decrease In Toxic Emissions

Federal data says toxic emissions are declining in central Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory shows overall toxic emissions in Franklin County decreased by about 51 percent from 2012 to 2013. Lead emissions in the state's second-largest county dropped by about 21 percent in that time. For the first time in 20 years, Franklin County went an entire smog season without an alert in 2014. Toxic emissions are also on the decline statewide and nationally as power companies close coal-fired plants and install pollution-control measures. But Dr. Darryl Hood of the Ohio State College of Public Health in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences says further study is necessary to determine the real reduction. "In order to get a good picture of toxic emissions decreasing, one has to do a comprehensive study. With two compounds we welcome the fact that these studies have indicated that the emissions are decreasing, there are about another 150 or so compounds that go with these," Dr. Hood said. Ohio EPA spokeswoman Heather Lauer tells the newspaper emissions are decreasing because of better pollution control and because some companies are using fewer toxic chemicals. You can listen to WOSU's Marilyn Smith's interview with Dr. Darryl Hood.