State regulators for more than a decade allowed a New Mexico refinery to delay fixing leaky equipment that was releasing toxic gases, including high levels of the carcinogen benzene.
Some materials are recycled at relatively high levels, but for plastic the rate is just eight percent. Another 16 percent is incinerated, and the remaining 76 percent ends up in landfills.
Policymakers have eagerly promoted walking and bicycle riding as a way to get healthy exercise while reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. But those activities are becoming increasingly dangerous in America.