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A new study, Toxic Power: How Power Plants Contaminate Our Air and States,”  released Wednesday by the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility shows that most toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants can be found in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. The study, used public data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, a national database of toxic emissions reported by industrial sources. Data on pollution control systems at specific plants was drawn from the EPA’s National Electric Energy Data System database.

Map

The states ranked in the top "Toxic 20" (from worst to best) included:

1. Ohio
2. Pennsylvania
3. Florida
4. Kentucky
5. Maryland
6. Indiana
7. Michigan
8. West Virginia
9. Georgia
10. North Carolina
11. South Carolina
12. Alabama
13. Texas
14. Virginia
15. Tennessee
16. Missouri
17. Illinois
18. Wisconsin
19. New Hampshire
20. Iowa

California ranked 42 on the list.

EPA officials estimate that reductions of toxic pollution required by pending federal standards would save as many as 17,000 lives a year by 2015, prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma, more than 12,000 emergency room and hospital visits, and 850,000 lost workdays annually. The federal standards are expected to be finalized in November. (L.A. Times, 7/20/2011)