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Nitrogen Oxides exceed Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC)

Main potential health effects


Nitrogen oxides (NOX) are common air pollutants that contribute to the formation of smog. Both NOX and smog are linked to cardiovascular and respiratory illness and death. NOX causes irritation and decreases the ability of lungs to fight infection. People with asthma and bronchitis, young children, older adults, and adults with heart and respiratory disorders are especially sensitive to the adverse effects of NOX exposure. When analysing nitrogen oxides, NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) is used as the standard for understanding health impacts. NO2 is a criteria air contaminant (CAC).

Maximum 24 hour concentration

Key Findings
The concentration of NO2 is of concern because it exceeds the Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) throughout the study area. NO2 concentration is particularly high in the south western section of the study area where the Gardiner Expressway/QEW meets Hwy 427. In addition to transportation related sources, other sources include local residential and commercial furnace and boiler emissions. The map also shows a point source of emissions which has been identified as an industrial source in the study area.

What are Ambient Air Quality Criteria?


Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) define an acceptable contaminant concentration level, below which substances are not expected to have adverse health and/or environmental effects. The AAQC standard reflects what is present in that air, independent of location. For the purposes of this study, the AAQC are based on an average 24 hour period.

Contributors of NO2 to air pollution in Toronto


Toronto Emissions 11% Southern Ontario 21% Northeast USA 22% Toronto 57% Residential / Commercial Road Vehicles

33%

8% 5%

Planes & Trains Industrial

Benzene exceeds Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC)


Main potential health effects
Long-term exposure to low levels of benzene increases the risk of developing cancer. Benzene is linked to acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood system. Exposure to benzene may also impair blood chemistry and blood cell function. Benzene may be linked to more than one type of health effect and is therefore considered both a carcinogen and a non-carcinogen.

Maximum 24 hour concentration

Key Findings
The concentration of benzene is of concern because it exceeds the Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) throughout the study area. Benzene concentration is particularly high in the south western section of the study area, where the Gardiner Expressway/QEW meets Hwy 427.

Contributors of benzene to air pollution in Toronto


Toronto Emissions Ontario 19% Northeast USA 26%

What are Ambient Air Quality Criteria?


Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) define an acceptable contaminant concentration level, below which substances are not expected to have adverse health and/or environmental effects. The AAQC standard reflects what is present in that air, independent of location. For the purposes of this study, the AAQC are based on an average 24 hour period.
Toronto 55%

38%

Road Vehicles

8% 9%

Planes & Trains Industrial

Benzo(a)Pyrene (B[a]P) exceeds Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC)


Main potential health effects
B(a)P is used in the study to represent polyaromatic hydrocarbons. It is the most toxic polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH). Long-term exposure to airborne polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) increases the risk of lung cancer. In animal studies, inhalation of PAHs, such as B(a)P, is associated with increased incidence of cancer of the respiratory tract. Benzo(a)pyrene is carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

Maximum 24 hour concentration

Key Findings
The concentration of benzo(a)pyrene is of concern because it exceeds the Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) throughout the study area. Benzo(a)pyrene concentration is particularly high in the south western section of the study area where the Gardiner Expressway/ QEW meets Hwy 427. The main source of Toronto based benzo(a) pyrene is emissions from road vehicles.

What are Ambient Air Quality Criteria?


Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) define an acceptable contaminant concentration level, below which substances are not expected to have adverse health and/or environmental effects. The AAQC standard reflects what is present in that air, independent of location. For the purposes of this study, the AAQC are based on an average 24 hour period.

Contributors of benzo(a)pyrene to air pollution in Toronto


Southern Ontario Toronto Emissions 8% Toronto 24% Northeast USA 68% 24% Road Vehicles

Particulate Matter (PM10) exceeds Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC)


Main potential health effects
PM10 are particles which are smaller than 10 microns in diameter. About 16,000 particles of PM10 can fit on the head of a pin that is 2 mm in diameter. Particulate matter and smog are both linked to cardiovascular and respiratory illness and death. Particular matter can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. People who are susceptible to the effects of particulates include the elderly, people with existing respiratory disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis, people with cardiovascular disease, people with infections such as pneumonia, and children. PM10 is a criteria air contaminant (CAC).

Maximum 24 hour concentration

Key Findings
The concentration of PM10 is of concern because it exceeds the Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) throughout the study area. PM10 concentration is particularly high in the south western section of the study area where the Gardiner Expressway/QEW meets Hwy 427.

Contributors of particulate matter PM10 to air pollution in Toronto


Toronto Emissions Residential / 6% Commercial Toronto 50%

Southern Ontario 20% Northeast USA 30%

37%

Road Vehicles

What are Ambient Air Quality Criteria?


Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) define an acceptable contaminant concentration level, below which substances are not expected to have adverse health and/or environmental effects. The AAQC standard reflects what is present in that air, independent of location. For the purposes of this study, the AAQC are based on an average 24 hour period.

2%

5%

Planes & Trains Industrial

Particulate matter (PM2.5) exceeds the Canada Wide Standard (CWS)


Main potential health effects
PM2.5 is particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. About 64,000 particles of PM2.5 can fit on the head of a pin that is 2 mm in diameter. PM2.5 is considered more toxic than PM10. Particulate matter is a component of smog and is linked to cardiovascular and respiratory illness and death. Particulate matter can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. People who are susceptible to the effects of particulates include the elderly, people with existing respiratory disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bronchitis, people with cardiovascular disease, people with infections such as pneumonia, and children. PM2.5 is a criteria air contaminant (CAC).

Maximum 24 hour concentration


Area 4: PM2.5 in this area is generated by high volumes of cars and trucks on this stretch of highway. Area 1: Industrial sources in this area which reported PM2.5 for the study year, no longer exist.

Key Findings
The concentration of PM2.5 is of concern because it exceeds the Canada Wide Standard throughout the study area. PM2.5 concentration is found at elevated levels in four main areas as shown on the map. Significant sources of PM2.5 include tire, asphalt and tail pipe emissions associated with highway traffic, residential and commercial boilers and furnaces.

Contributors of fine particulate matter PM2.5 to air pollution in Toronto


Toronto Emissions Southern Ontario 20%
Area 3: The industrial source in this area has reduced its PM2.5 emissions by 75% since the year the study was conducted. Area 2: The industrial source in this area has reduced its PM2.5 emissions by 80% since the year the study was conducted.

What is a Canada Wide Standard (CWS)?


Since there is no AAQC for PM2.5, PM2.5 concentrations in this study are compared to a different air quality target called the Canada Wide Standard. Canada Wide Standards (CWS) are standards that balance health and environmental protection with the feasibility and costs of reducing emissions that contribute to PM. The CWS are developed for national use and are endorsed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). The CWS for PM2.5 is based on an average 24 hour period.

16% Toronto 48% 16% 5% 11%

Residential / Commercial Road Vehicles Planes & Trains Industrial

Northeast USA 32%

Key Findings
1. In this study, five substances exceeded either an Ambient Air Quality Criterion (AAQC) developed by the Ministry of the Environment or a Canada Wide Standard (CWS) adopted by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment: NOx (expressed as NO2) Benzene Benzo(a)pyrene Particulate matter PM10 Particulate matter PM2.5 2. All five substances are generated largely from transportation emissions. 3. NOx and PM2.5 are also generated from residential and commercial boilers and furnaces. 4. NOx and PM2.5 are also generated by some local industry.

30 Priority Air Contaminants Studied


1. Acetaldehyde 2. Acrolein 3. Benzene 4. 1,3-Butadiene 5. Cadmium 6. Carbon tetrachloride 7. Chloroform 8. Chloromethane 9. Chromium 10. 1,4-Dichlorobenzene 11. 1,2-Dichloroethane 12. Dichloromethane 13. Ethylene dibromide 14. Formaldehyde 15. Lead 16. Manganese 17. Mercury 18. Nickel compounds 19. Nitrogen Oxides 20. PAHs (as B[a]Ps) 21. PM2.5 22. Tetrachloroethylene 23. Toluene 24. Trichloroethylene 25. Vinyl Chloride 26. Carbon Monoxide 27. PM10 28. Sulfur Dioxide 29. VOC (anthropogenic/Biogenic) 30. Ozone

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of the study is to:
1. Identify the sources and cumulative concentrations of 30 substances that have the most impact on local air quality. 2. Determine which of the 30 substances exceed Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC). 3. Assess the cumulative health impacts of all 30 substances grouped by type: carcinogens; non-carcinogenic toxics; and criteria air contaminants. 4. Set priorities and determine strategies to reduce exposure and improve the health of Toronto residents.

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