Wichita — For the second year in a row, the amount of toxic chemicals that manufacturers emitted into the air in Kansas has decreased.
Manufacturing companies and electric utilities in the state in 2000 cut their air emissions to 16.9 million pounds, a reduction of a half-million pounds from 1999, according to the Toxic Release Inventory released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Total releases to air and land were down slightly in the state, a trend the Kansas Department of Health and Environment called "encouraging."
However, the amount of chemicals and metals being put in rivers and streams rose slightly.
Even though the releases are legal, industries have been scrambling for more than a decade to reduce emissions and often negative publicity that they bring.
The biggest reductions in Kansas for the year 2000 were made by Boeing Co. In 1999, the company released about 1 million pounds of toxic chemicals in to the air. In 2000, the amount was below 14,000 pounds.
Boeing's numbers dropped in part because production dropped, said company spokesman Dick Ziegler.
But he said the company had made a strong effort to switch to chemicals that were less toxic.
"We've had our eye on that ball for years," he said. "Whenever possible, we are using alternate materials that are not harmful."