Slavik, C.E., Kalenge, S. & Demers, P.A. Industry and geographic patterns of use and emission of carcinogens in Ontario, Canada, 2011–2015. Can J Public Health. 2018 May.
The goal of this study was to leverage data from two environmental regulatory initiatives, Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act (TRA) and Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), to assess their ability to monitor trends in the use and emission of carcinogens by industry sector in Ontario.
Data reported to the TRA and NPRI by industrial facilities in Ontario were retrieved from 2011 to 2015. Twenty-six known and suspected carcinogens were identified (IARC) and the trends in the use and emission were evaluated by industry sector. The locations of industrial facilities that used and released carcinogens were mapped by Public Health Unit (PHU).
Chemical manufacturing and primary metal manufacturing sectors accounted for 84% of all reported industrial use of carcinogens during the period 2011–2015. The largest source of carcinogen emissions came from facilities in the primary metal manufacturing and paper manufacturing sectors. The largest number of industrial facilities that reported the use and release of carcinogens were located in the City of Toronto and Peel Region PHUs. Overall, the use of carcinogens across all sectors appeared to decrease by 8%, while emissions increased by about 2%.
The results of this study show the need to reduce the use and emission of select carcinogens in priority industry sectors. Environmental reporting programs, such as the TRA and NPRI, can serve as important tools in cancer prevention by tracking potential carcinogen exposures in the environment and in the workplace.