ChemTRAC provides reports from businesses in your neighbourhood with information on chemical data and the environment. With this information, you can:

  • get to know the types of businesses in your neighbourhood
  • understand the chemicals that businesses use and release, and how they are greening their operations
  • work with businesses and neighbours to green your neighbourhood and support local businesses in their greening efforts
  • share success stories and learn from others in your community
  • take action to reduce toxic exposure at home and in your daily activities

Learn more about chemical use in Toronto businesses, health effects, below.

As indicated in the Environmental Reporting and Disclosure Bylaw, Toronto Public Health has identified 25 priority substances (chemicals) that are in Toronto’s air environment at levels that are of concern for health. These chemicals are divided into three groups, A, B and C. The reporting thresholds for each of these groups are different and are listed below.

Three approaches were used to identify the 25 priority substances in the ChemTRAC program:

  • Substances that currently exceed health-based benchmarks in Toronto’s air (using data on air quality from Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment)
  • Substances that have the largest potential health impact
  • Substances that contribute to climate change

These chemicals may be used or released in a variety of operations, including chemical manufacturing, food and beverage production, automotive repair and laboratories. For example, trichloroethylene and dichloromethane are common cleaning solvents that may be used in sectors such as manufacturing.

All types of businesses located in Toronto that use and release any of the 25 chemicals are covered under the Environmental Reporting and Disclosure Bylaw. Examples include:

  • auto body shops
  • dry cleaners
  • food and beverage production plants
  • printing shops
  • manufacturers
  • metal processing, wood
  • other industries

The City of Toronto’s facilities, such as water treatment plants and printing shops, are also involved.

 

These chemicals may be used or released in a wide variety of operations, including:

  • chemical manufacturing
  • food and beverage production
  • automotive repair
  • laboratories

 

For example, trichloroethylene and dichloromethane are common cleaning solvents that may be used in sectors such as manufacturing.

Managing toxic chemicals costs money for waste management, compliance, and health and safety. Programs like ChemTRAC have demonstrated that tracking chemicals is the first step to preparing a business to manage them more efficiently and cost-effectively, and to identify environmental opportunities to reduce chemical hazards. Under the ChemTRAC program, businesses are not required to make reductions but many already have because of the benefits to their businesses.

 

Exposure to Chemicals

Businesses must comply with provincial regulations that ensure surrounding communities are not exposed to harmful levels of chemicals.

ChemTRAC data measures emissions and not direct human exposure. Exposure to a chemical depends on many things: the location it was released, the height of the stack, the prevailing weather conditions and the properties of the chemical. It may breakdown, be carried away by winds, or rain before exposure to a neighbourhood can happen.

Purpose of Data Collection and Businesses’ Environmental Statements

The ChemTRAC program collects data at certain businesses across Toronto to better understand the overall health risk from chemicals in the community. Toronto Public Health uses ChemTRAC data to better understand how businesses may contribute to the chemicals in our air, which also come from vehicles, homes and sources outside of Toronto.

This data also helps businesses go green by implementing pollution prevention methods to decrease use of the chemicals. If you have questions about businesses in your neighbourhood, you may explore the business profiles of facilities using the ChemTRAC Disclosure webpage – which includes facility contact information, reported chemical data and their Environmental Statement.

What You Can Do

You can use ChemTRAC data to discuss any health or safety concerns with a business. The business can help you in understanding their use and management of the chemical(s). Your interest may help the business consider pollution prevention opportunities.

If you suspect that a business is not complying with provincial regulations to ensure surrounding communities are not exposed to harmful levels of chemicals, contact the Ontario Ministry of Environment at 1-866-663-8477.

ChemTRAC is the first program of its kind in Canada that provides local-level information on small and medium-sized businesses in your neighbourhood. Currently you can find information on the chemicals that larger businesses are releasing into our environment: