Forbes: Atlanta the ‘most toxic’ U.S. city

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Forbes magazine has ranked Atlanta the nation’s “most toxic” city.

“In Atlanta, Ga., you’ll find southern gentility, a world-class music scene–and 21,000 tons of environmental waste,” noted. “In spite of its charms, the city’s combination of air pollution, contaminated land and atmospheric chemicals makes it the most toxic city in the country.”

Forbes said it looked at the country’s 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas based on data provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It then counted the number of facilities that reported releasing toxins into the environment, the total pounds of certain toxic chemicals released into the air, water and earth, the days per year that air pollution was above healthy levels, and the total number of Superfund sites (contaminated areas that the federal government has designated for cleanup efforts) in each city.

According to the data, Atlanta has 58 Superfund sites, 277 facilities releasing toxic chemicals, 41.5 million pounds of released toxic chemicals, and the 28th-worst air quality.

The least toxic was Las Vegas.

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