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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Poison Plants II: 19th Century Chlorine Factories Still Major Mercury Source

Poison Plants II: 19th Century Chlorine Factories Still Major Mercury Source

This Oceana report shows that mercury-cell chlorine plants (those that use mercury-cell technology to produce chlorine), continue to be one of the United States' biggest mercury polluters. Using the latest industry and government data, the report shows that the only marked reduction in mercury releases to air by the nine plants that operated from 2002 to 2003 occurred as a result of one plant being idled during some of that period. Some of these plants are located in the Great Lakes region, in Ohio and Wisconsin. Mercury-cell chlorine plants release far more mercury to the air per plant, on average, than coal-burning power plants. Mercury-cell chlorine plants were the number 1 source of mercury air pollution in seven of the eight states where they operated in 2003. Accoring to the report, the chlorine industry could not account for 30 tons of mercury in 2003; mercury they "lost." If the bulk of this lost mercury enters the environment annually, the chlorine industry would approach coal-fired power plants as the number 1 mercury emitter. The report briefly discusses some examples of chlorine plants that have experienced both environmental and economic benefits from switching to mercury-free (membrane cell) chlorine production technology. A state-by-state analysis of local mercury pollution caused by mercury-cell chlorine plants is also provided (for the eight states in which the nine plants in question operated from 2002 to 2003). (PDF Format; Length:28 pages)



Resource Type:

Date of Publication:
January 2006

Associated Sectors:

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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