Mercury Air Releases Trend
This graph shows the 10-year trend in the pounds of mercury and mercury compounds released to air by facilities that reported to TRI.
From 2011 to 2020:
- Releases of mercury and mercury compounds to air decreased by 64%.
- Electric utilities drove the decline in mercury air emissions, with an 88% reduction (-51,000 pounds). The decrease was driven by a shift from coal to other fuel sources (e.g., natural gas) and by the installation of pollution control technologies at coal-fired power plants.
- Note that only those electric utilities that combust coal or oil to generate power for distribution into commerce are covered under TRI reporting requirements. Therefore, electric utilities that shift from combusting coal or oil to entirely using other fuel sources (such as natural gas) are not required to report to TRI.
From 2019 to 2020:
- Releases of mercury and mercury compounds to air decreased by 7%.
- The primary metals sector, which includes iron and steel manufacturers, accounted for 37% of the air emissions of mercury and mercury compounds reported to TRI for 2020. The electric utilities sector, which released the second-most mercury and mercury compounds to air, accounted for 21% of these air emissions for 2020.
This page was published in March 2022 and uses the 2020 TRI National Analysis dataset made public in TRI Explorer in October 2021.