Chemicals, like many other pollutants, are highly toxic, according to a new study.
The study, by a team of international researchers, looked at the environmental impact of chemical releases from a number of industrial processes.
They found chemicals emitted from some industries had a wide range of harmful impacts, and the results were in stark contrast to a previous study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that focused on environmental effects of chemical release.
A previous study on the impacts of industrial chemical releases, conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), had found that chemicals released in the US produce significant environmental damage.
The new study looked at chemical releases in five industrial processes, including coal, gas, petroleum and petrochemical.
In the case of coal, for example, the researchers found that releasing a large amount of coal at a time could cause serious problems for communities and ecosystems.
It was also found that the release of a chemical into a large area could cause extensive and long-lasting damage to soil, vegetation and aquatic ecosystems.
The researchers concluded that while it is difficult to quantify the number of chemicals released from each industrial process, the findings showed that the chemicals were highly toxic.
“The data collected from these studies is of significant scientific interest,” said lead author and chemist at the University of Warwick, Dr Mark Smith, in a statement.
“It is very important that we understand what the impacts are and how we can reduce their impact on the environment.”
Dr Smith added: “There is a clear need to develop effective and practical solutions for managing chemicals and pollutants, and this study provides a useful first step towards that goal.”
In the meantime, he said that the study showed that it is important to take steps to minimise release of chemicals.
“Coal mining is a particularly significant source of releases of chemical compounds and the use of highly reactive materials in this process can have severe effects on human health and the environment,” he said.
The research was published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
The full study can be read here.
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