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<I>In reference to air-polluting plants in Lawrence, is what comes out of Astaris, formerly FMC, smoke stacks not polluting? There is quite a bit that comes out.

Yes, Astaris does emit some trace pollutants into the air, said Shane Munsch, the company's environmental coordinator. However, the company is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the level of pollutants it can put into the air.

Munsch said the company also has specialized pollution-control equipment that cleans the air before it is emitted through the smoke stacks. Though, he said, what people actually seeing coming out of the smoke stacks is steam or water vapor. The pollutants aren't visible, he said, but the company continually monitors how much goes into the air.

For 1999, Munsch said Astaris was rated as a "minor source" for pollution, meaning it fell below the government's thresholds for major pollutants. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment names companies as minor or major sources.

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