Top Corporate Air Polluters Named; Costs of Dirty Air Borne by Us All

A recent report has named the 100 worst air-polluting corporations –and the top five ” winners” are: Bayer Group, ExxonMobil, Sunoco, DuPont (so much for “better living through chemistry!”, and Arcelor Mittal. The losers are those of us who have to breathe the air and pay the costs. A true silent killer, it is estimated that air pollution kills 70,000 Ameircans per year, while traffic fatalities number 40,000 per year.
The Toxic 100 report comes at a time when stricter air pollution regulations are being fought as an enemy to economic recovery; yet the health care costs of air pollution are well-documented and a real drag on the economy in lost work days, school absenteeism, and healthcare costs.
The report reveals how many pounds of pollutants are released by the sum of each corporation’s facilities, which chemicals are the most toxic, and how many people are at risk. This year’s report for the first time includes data showing the disproportionate effects of air pollution on those living or working near these plants: the poor and minorities. For example, the data reveal that minorities bear 65% of the air toxics risk from facilities owned by ExxonMobil, while making up 38% of the U.S. population. While 12.9% of Americans live below the poverty line, the poor comprise 27.1% of those affected by chemical giant Pfizer’s U.S. operations.
Air pollution costs everyone, no matter how far away from company smokestacks. Last month a RAND Corporation study showed that dirty air caused more than $193 million in hospital-based medical care from 2005 to 2007 in the state of California alone. Hospital admissions triggered by air pollution for acute bronchitis, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease accounted for nearly one-third of the $193 million in health care spending documented over the study period.

The Toxic 100 was released by the Political Economy Research Institute at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, using data from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory. The Toxic 100 rankers then include Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators data, also from the EPA, to correct for such disparities as the relative toxicity of different materials, pound for pound, the number of people affected based on plants’ location, and by combining the data of all facilities owned by a corporation. The searchable database of air pollution statistics can be accessed at the Toxic 100 site.

Take action
Be aware that state and local measures to gut air pollution laws are often funded by the very companies that are causing the dirty air.
Sign the petition Don’t Let Congress Gut the Clean Air Act.

Photo: Eric Schmuttenmaer via Flickr; CC license

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Grace Adams
Grace Adams4 years ago

We could probably buy toxins captured from emissions from these companies for somewhat less than we are paying trying to undo the damage to people's health. If so, then the taxpayers could come out ahead buying the toxins and warehousing them.

Barb F.
Barb F.5 years ago

I reside in a geographical area that ranked near the top of places with the worst air quality in the US, the disease, miscarriage and birth defect happening is far too common, the word "cancer" is seeming epidemic proportions in those diagnosed with it, this includes my dad. Corportations NEED to be disempowered by buying off those who make laws, they need to be held responsible for the lives and Nature they destroy, as a bumper sticker I have states "Corporations are not the People"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p.5 years ago


Linda M.
Linda M.5 years ago

everyone, please sign and share:

thanks so much

Pat Tyler
Pat Tyler5 years ago

Why do we allow any polluters much less top polluters. So this goes on without any regulation and people get sick and die and it continues because they are "Corporations".
This is gross and needs to be stopped.

Yulan L.
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

No excuse.

Valerie Hale
Valerie Hale5 years ago

I totally agree that air pollution is bad; however, if regulating it when other countries(READ CHINA and INDIA) won't also engage in regulation then we are just putting more economic burden on companies and increasing pressure for them to move overseas taking American jobs with them. Then those cheap goods have to be transported all the way back to US and distributed, more pollution. It is not a simple issue.

Judeth B.
judeth B.5 years ago

It sounds like these companies should have to pay for the health care of the public.

Ambrose Merly
Past Member 5 years ago

thnx. i signed

pamela dickenson
pj dickenson5 years ago

I for one would like to see that list. At least I know 5 companies to boycott on this important issue.