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Backgrounder: Strengthening Protection for Ontario's Air

Archived Backgrounder

Backgrounder: Strengthening Protection for Ontario's Air

Ontario has updated air standards for 33 high priority contaminants of concern to human health. They are taking effect February 1, 2010. These air quality standards are based on the best available science about the health and environmental risks posed by these contaminants.

To promote effective implementation and reduce regulatory burden, Ontario amended Regulation 419 to establish sector-specific technical standards in December after consulting with industry and the environmental community. To qualify for a technical standard, facilities must strive to maximize emission reductions.

Contaminant

Previous Standard

(24 hr average unless otherwise indicated)

New Air Standard

(24 hr average unless otherwise indicated)

Health Effect

(Critical effects used for setting the standard)

Acetone

48,000 µg/m3

11,880 µg/m3

Acute respiratory irritation, narcotic and neurological

effects

Acetonitrile

No Standard

70 µg/m3

Respiratory irritation

Acrolein           

23.5 µg/m3 (1 hr avg.)

0.4 µg/m3;

4.5 µg/m3(1 hr avg.)

- Lesions in the upper airways (for 24 hr avg.)

- Eye, mucous membrane and respiratory irritation;

asthma exacerbation (for 1 hr avg.)

Acrylonitrile

0.6 µg/m3

0.6 µg/m3 (Note1)

Carcinogenic effects

Ammonia

100 µg/m3

100 µg/m3 (Note1)

Eye, lung and skin irritation

Chlorine           

10 µg/m3

10 µg/m3 (Note1)

Lung functions and respiratory irritation

Chloroform

1 µg/m3

1 µg/m3 (Note1)

Carcinogenic effects

Cyclohexane

100,000 µg/m3

6,100 µg/m3

Developmental effects

Ethyl benzene

1,000 µg/m3

1,000 µg/m3 (Note1)

Developmental effects

Ethyl ether

8,000 µg/m3

8,000 µg/m3 (Note1)

Eye and nasal irritation

HDI Biuret

1 µg/m3

3 µg/m3

Nose lesions and degeneration of the olfactory

epithelium

HDI Isocyanurate

No Standard

3 µg/m3

Nose lesions and degeneration of the olfactory

epithelium

HDI Polyisocyanate

No Standard

3 µg/m3

Nose lesions and degeneration of the olfactory

epithelium

HDI monomer

0.5 µg/m3

0.03 µg/m3

Nose lesions and degeneration of the olfactory

epithelium

n-Hexane (n-hexane and hexane isomers only)

12,000 µg/m3

7,500 µg/m3

Neurotoxic effects

n-Hexane (part of a mixture)

12,000 µg/m3

2,500 µg/m3

Neurotoxic effects

Hydrogen chloride

20 µg/m3

20 µg/m3 (Note1)

Irritation and injury to the respiratory tract

Hydrogen cyanide

575 µg/m3

8 µg/m3

Central nervous system and thyroid effect

Isopropanol

24,000 µg/m3

7,300 µg/m3

Adverse effects on the kidney

Lead    

2 µg/m3

0.7 µg/m3 (30 day avg)

0.5 µg/m3

0.2 µg/m3 (30 day avg)

Adverse neurological effects in young children

which can affect their physical, intellectual, and

behavioural development

MDI Monomer

1 µg/m3

0.7 µg/m3

Pathological changes in nose tissue

Methylethyl ketone

1,000 µg/m3

1,000 µg/m3 (Note1)

Developmental effects

Methyl isocyanate

No Standard

1 µg/m3

Respiratory tract lesions

Methylene chloride

220 µg/m3

220 µg/m3 (Note1)

Carcinogenic effects

Mineral spirits

2,600 µg/m3

2,600 µg/m3 (Note1)

Neurotoxic effects

Perchloroethylene

360 µg/m3

360 µg/m3 (Note1)

Respiratory and kidney effects

Phenol

100 µg/m3

30 µg/m3

Central nervous system and liver effects

Polymeric MDI

No Standard

0.7 µg/m3

Pathological changes in nose tissue

Propylene oxide

1.5 µg/m3

1.5 µg/m3 (Note1)

Carcinogenic effects

TDI (2,4-)

0.5 µg/m3

0.2 µg/m3

Lung function decline

TDI (mixed isomers)

No Standard

0.2 µg/m3

Lung function decline

Trichloroethylene

115 µg/m3

12 µg/m3

Carcinogenic effects

Xylenes           

2,300 µg/m3

730 µg/m3

Neurological effects

 

Note 1: For these 12 substances, the ½ hr standards, which are still used by many small sources, was reduced by several fold, ranging up to 100-fold.

Media Contacts

  • Gary Wheeler

    Communications Branch

    Gary.S.Wheeler@ontario.ca

    416-314-6666

  • Contact information for the general public

    416-325-4000

    1-800-565-4923

  • David Mullock

    Minister's Office

    david.mullock@ontario.ca

    416-212-7307

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