On Monday February 27th 2012, the Toronto Board of Health discussed the results of a groundbreaking air quality study completed by the Toronto Environment Office for Toronto's east end (Wards 30 & 32).
The study, An All Sources Cumulative Air Quality Impact Study of South Riverdale - Leslieville - Beaches, was published in July 2011.
The first of its kind, the study looked at the cumulative impacts of various sources of air pollution from both local, provincial and US sources. The study not only pinpointed local areas with the highest levels of pollution it also assessed the associated health risks such as respiratory diseases and cancer.
The Toronto Environment Office and the Toronto Public Health worked together on the study in an effort to collect more data on environmental pollution data and related health risks.
By far the largest source of air pollution is coming from the Don Valley Parkway and the fuel exhaust from vehicles is contributing to an elevated risk of cancer and an increased risk of premature death from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in this community.
The concentration of benzene emissions along major highways shown in the map identifies transportation as a major source of air pollution across Toronto. Taking public transit is likely the single most effective way to reduce emissions.
The next major source of air pollution is from industry near the Port Lands and the recommendations put forward by the Board of Health will enable the Toronto Environment Office to engage the Ministry of Environment in monitoring, controlling and reducing emissions in the area.
- Read the study findings summary about pollution levels and health risks.
- Visit the web page with full report and public presentation materials.
- Read the Board of Health February 27th decision and recommendations.
TEA will advocate to see more of these studies in other parts of the city. Let us know if your community might need an air quality study and why! In April, Council will be presented with the report and the Board of Health recommendations. Council will also decide whether to approve the location of the next study, which is South Etobicoke (Wards 5&6).