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What are the biggest sources of mercury air emissions in the U.S.?

According to EPA's 2011 National Emissions Inventory Technical Support Document (June 2014) http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/net/2011nei/2011_nei_tsdv1_draft2_june2014.pdf , coal-fired electric power plants are the largest source of human-caused mercury air emissions in the U.S. These power plants account for 25.4 tons per year of emissions -- about 49% of total U.S. man-made mercury emissions. Other large sources are:

  • Electric arc furnaces used in steelmaking (about 10% of U.S. mercury emissions),
  • Industrial boilers (about 7%), and
  • Burning waste from the manufacture of Portland cement (about 5.5%)

Burning municipal waste and medical waste was once a larger source of emissions. Today, in response to EPA and state regulations and reductions in mercury use, emissions from these sources have declined over 95 percent.

To read a more complete discussion in the Technical Support Document about trends in mercury emissions, see section 2.6, beginning on page 26.

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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 23002-21198
  • Date Created: 1/19/2005
  • Last Modified Since: 8/7/2014
  • Viewed: 4818

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