discloses the contents of its fossil-plant emissions and responds to
the EPAs Enforcement Initiative.
Release Inventory (TRI), an Environmental Protection Agency-maintained
database, records the quantities of any of 650 potentially toxic chemicals
that are released into the environment, not only by power plants but
also by hundreds of industries across the United States. Beginning last
year, electric utilities were required to report annual TRI data to
the EPA. TVA released its 1998 TRI information first to the public and
then to the EPA, on July 1, 1999.
TVA burns approximately 40 million tons of coal per year. Emissions
are an inevitable product of such large-scale combustion. The agencys
57 million pounds of releases are characterized in the pie chart shown
above at right.
To determine the primary exposure risk to public health, TVA has voluntarily
conducted assessments of the inhalation health risk posed by its air
emissions. The assessments examine occupational exposures, acute or
short-term exposures, chronic or long-term exposures, and potentially
cancer-causing exposures. To measure the risk accurately, TVA used nationally
recognized guidelines from the state of California, the American Conference
of Governmental Hygienists, and the EPA. Its study was independently
verified by Lawrence B. Gratt, Ph.D., author of Air Toxic Risk
Assessment and Management. The findings showed that the concentrations
of chemicals released by TVA posed no significant health risk to any
TVA power plant employees or Valley residents living within 50 kilometers
of the plantsa conclusion consistent with those of national risk-assessment
studies conducted by the EPA and the Electric Power Research Institute
TVA plans to expand its risk assessments in the future. The agency recently
established a partnership with EPRI in order to examine the health risks
resulting from forms of exposure other than inhalation. The study will
take place over a three-year period, and TVA will continue to update
its assessments yearly to ensure that the most current risk-assessment
methodologies and guidelines are employed.
Check TVAs Toxics Release Inventory
site for more information.
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