EPA Makes Toxic Releases In Broward Easier To Find Than Ever

Copper in Coral Springs. Lead in Deerfield. Styrene in Dania Beach. These are just a few of the cases that turn up with a quick search of the Environmental Protection Agency's new Toxic Release Inventory database.

The database, consisting of toxic disposals from 2010, allows users to search by zip code in order to find out what awful-sounding chemicals and raw materials are being disposed of in their neighborhood. These aren't cases of some mafia-connected dude dumping a barrel of nuclear waste down the sewer drain or hauling bucket loads of a carcinogen to the Everglades.

But the database does give users an inside glimpse into the toxins local companies are using and releasing into the environment.

One hot-bed for spewing chemicals is Ft. Lauderdale's 3316 zip code, home to BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Hess facilities. These places, unsurprisingly, release a laundry list of hard-to-pronounce chemicals into the environment, including  1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, naphthalene, toluene, and xylene.

When the EPA made the data public earlier this month, it noted that 3.93 billion pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the environment nationwide, marking a 16 percent jump from 2009. And while toxic releases into th air declined slightly, releases into surface water and land jumped 9 and 28 percent, respectively.

Want to know if that sketchy building on the corner is taking a toxic dump in your neighborhood? Just enter your zip code here.

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Chris Sweeney