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The CEC has released its first-ever, multi-year examination of reported industrial pollution in North America
Data from the three countries' PRTRs were retrieved by the CEC from the three governments or from their publicly accessible websites. The CEC received the data for this year's edition of Taking Stock from Canada and the United States in September 2009, and from Mexico in January 2010.
Note: The data sets of the national PRTR systems are constantly evolving as facilities revise previous submissions to correct reporting errors or make other changes.
With the exception of criteria air contaminants (CAC) and greenhouse gases (GHG), all reported data from the three countries are accessible through the TS Online integrated NAPRTR database. CAC are reported to Canada's NPRI and GHG are reported to Mexico's RETC, but these pollutants are not subject to US TRI reporting. However, there are other sources of information on emissions of these pollutants in all three countries, which users can consult for more details: CAC/GHG.
The methodology used in preparation of the annual Taking Stock report and online database includes the following:
Because of national PRTR reporting requirements (see Overview of PRTR Reporting Requirements), including thresholds for pollutants and facilities, only a portion of all industrial pollution is being captured. Also, industrial facilities are not the only sources of pollution in North America.
North American PRTR data do not provide information on:
Substances released or transferred by industrial facilities have physical and chemical characteristics that influence their ultimate disposition and consequences for human and ecological health. Assessing the potential harm from particular releases of a pollutant to the environment is a complex task because the potential of a substance to cause harm arises from various factors, including its inherent toxicity and the nature of the exposure to the substance (e.g., the potential risk posed by asbestos sent to a secure landfill is considered to be much lower than the risk posed by asbestos released to air).
PRTR data alone cannot provide enough information to assess the potential harm from a pollutant; however, the data in combination with other information about a pollutant can serve as a starting point for learning more about its potential impacts. Readers may with to other sources for more information, including: