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Phase 1 ChemTRAC Summary (2012)


Phase 1 data released - June 2012 

The ChemTRAC program released Phase 1 data on the use and release of 25 priority toxic substances across Toronto in June 2012. The data is available online
at toronto.ca/chemtrac.   

Phase 1 businesses include chemical manufacturers, food & beverage manufacturers, wood industries like furniture and paper producers, printers, waste/water treatment, and power generation.

Toronto Public Health has reviewed this data and released their first
annual ChemTRAC program report which reviews the chemical data that was
reported and provides suggestions for next steps to respond to potential
health impacts, local air quality concerns and develop action plans for
pollution prevention. 

TEA attended the Toronto Board of Health meeting on Monday
June 25th 2012 in order to learn more about next steps and offer our
support for this groundbreaking program. We promoted the historic meeting to members of the public and our community partners were present to celebrate with us!


Key findings from ChemTRAC report and Phase 1 data

Preliminary findings suggest that 7 out of 25 priority substances
were the most commonly reported substances in Phase 1. These include
smog-forming contaminants such as VOCs, NOx and PM2.5 which were
released in large quantities as well as four substances released in
smaller quantities which pose health risks due to their toxicity. These
toxic substances include known carcinogens such as Polycyclic Aromatic
Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and cadmium, as well as harmful heavy metals like
lead and mercury. Here are a few other key findings:

  • 274 Phase 1 businesses reported chemical data in the first year (2010)
  • 88 Phase 1 businesses were exempt because they are either
    below reporting thresholds or do not use or release these substances at
    all. Keep an eye out for companies that are exempt but voluntarily
    reported to showcase their green credentials!
  • 233 Phase 2 and Phase 3 businesses voluntarily reported ahead of schedule.
  • 55% of the Phase 1 businesses that had to report to ChemTRAC
    are not required to report to other levels of government (152 out of 274
    facilities). This proves the value of ChemTRAC in filling a huge
    information gap on the release of harmful chemicals in Toronto.
  • Phase 1 facilities reported the manufacture, processing or use of approx. 66,000 tonnes of priority substances to ChemTRAC in 2010
  • Approximately 5,000 tonnes of priority substances were
    released into Toronto's environment, primarily into our air, in 2010.
    This represents 8% of what was manufactured, processed or otherwise used by facilities.
  • Most of the Phase 1 facilities are primarily located in industrial/commercial zones rather than residential areas. It is expected that Phase 2 facilities will be much more dispersed throughout the city and residential areas.

Key links:


According to Toronto Public Health’s first annual ChemTRAC report, also
released on June 18th, the preliminary findings of the Phase 1 data have
already been put to good use. The chemical use and release data has
helped Toronto Public Health identify key substances of concern and
where they are released, which means they can better respond to
potential health risks and local air quality issues. They have developed three key focus areas for 2012:

  1. Identify actions that can be taken to protect health. The
    ChemTRAC data will help Toronto Public Health identify substances of
    concern, pollution prevention and health promotion opportunities, and
    focus their attention on areas where harmful substances are released in
    areas with vulnerable/sensitive communities.
  2. Use ChemTRAC data to assist with local air quality studies. The Toronto Environment Office (TEO) is conducting air quality studies in Toronto. The first one was done in South Riverdale
    and next one is set for South Etobicoke. TEO is working with Toronto
    Public Health to assess the potential health impacts of local air
    quality based on emissions from local facilities, transportation
    corridors and other sources of pollution. Toronto Public Health has
    developed a set of criteria for choosing future locations for air
    quality studies, more information available here.  
  3. Support pollution prevention activities. It's very hard to
    manage what you don't measure. The ChemTRAC data is an essential first
    step in developing solutions to manage these substances. The ChemTRAC
    website is already full of pollution prevention guides for various
    business sectors and they continue to offer free webinars, e-learning
    courses, workshops and consultations to help business measure and
    control their use and release of toxic substances. Toronto Public Health
    has recently developed a business panel to collaborate on future
    pollution prevention opportunities.

Learn more about recent ChemTRAC chemical releases on our main page: http://torontoenvironment.org/campaigns/toxics/chemTRAC