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Twenty three chemicals in Toronto’s air exceed health-based benchmarks

July 5, 2007

Toronto Public Health has just identified 23 toxic chemicals released into Toronto’s air that exceed health-based benchmarks and subsequently, pose a great risk to our health and environment. These chemicals include carcinogens such as cadmium, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Shockingly, the exposure ratios ranged anywhere from ten times to 1000 times above benchmarks.

On Monday July 9th, the Board of Health will consider a bylaw to force disclosure of the use and release of these substances in Toronto. This bylaw will set a precedent in Canada in disclosing toxic chemical releases at a local level. Currently, in Toronto,

• approximately 80% of releases to air are not reported
• only 3% of the 11,000 Toronto businesses are required to report
• greenhouse gas emissions are not reported
• no data is reported on the use and storage of chemicals in facilities

This bylaw would require all companies to disclose their use, storage and release of local pollutants.

TEA is calling on City Council to fulfill its 7 year promise to adopt a Community Right to Know bylaw. The public deserves to know about pollution happening in their neighborhoods and we’re confident that such public scrutiny will convince many polluters to change their ways.

For full TPH technical report: http://www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/pdf/aei_bohreport_techreport_finaljuly3.pdf

For more information about Community Right to Know contact:

Katrina Miller, Toronto Environmental Alliance 647-272-5024
Lina Cino, Toronto Environmental Alliance 416-596-0660