Virginia's status as a leading trash importer gets a lot of attention and obscures this fact: The state exports about half of its hazardous waste - material that can harm people and the environment.
Virginia sent other states 67,129 tons of hazardous waste in 2005, according to the most recent federal report on the subject.
Ohio got most of the waste, 16,759 tons.
It's not surprising that these exports draw little notice, said Ralph Allen, a chemist who is director of the University of Virginia's environmental health and safety office.
"I think if we had all this hazardous waste coming into Virginia, you'd probably have people worked up about that," Allen said.
Hazardous waste includes dirty or watery gasoline, spent acids, old solvents, industrial byproducts and heavy metals such as mercury and lead.