Recent trends in the industrial use and emission of known and suspected carcinogens in Ontario, Canada

Slavik CE, Kalenge S, Demers PA. Recent trends in the industrial use and emission of known and suspected carcinogens in Ontario, Canada. Reviews on Environmental Health 2017 Sept.

BACKGROUND: In 2010, Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, implemented its Toxics Reduction Act, Ontario Regulation 455/09 (TRA), which requires four major manufacturing and mineral processing industry groups that already report releases of pollutants federally to the National Pollutant Release Inventory to additionally track, account and report their use and creation. The TRA was modeled after the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989, which has been very successful and reported significant reduction in toxic use and carcinogen release.

METHODS: Data from the TRA were retrieved, and the trends in the use and release of 17 known and suspected carcinogens associated with the seven most prevalent cancers diagnosed in Ontario and reported by industrial facilities in Ontario from 2011 to 2015 were examined using methodology adapted from (Jacobs MM, Massey RI, Tenney H, Harriman E. Reducing the use of carcinogens: the Massachusetts experience. Rev Environ Health 2014;29(4):319-40).

RESULTS: Carcinogens associated with lung cancers, leukemia and lymphomas were observed as the most used and released carcinogens in Ontario by amount. Overall, for 2011-2015, there was an observed reduction in the industrial use of carcinogens, except among breast carcinogens, which increased by 20%. An increase in the industrial releases of carcinogens was observed across all cancer sites, except among lung carcinogens, which decreased by 28%.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study highlight the potential for reducing the cancer burden by reducing the use and release of select carcinogens associated with particularly prevalent cancers. Toxics use reduction programs can support cancer prevention initiatives by promoting targeted reductions in exposures to industrial carcinogens.