Milton Public library Digital Collections

Canadian Champion (Milton, ON), 28 Nov 2019, p. 39

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provincial programs "du- plicating" each other, that's just not true, says McRob- ert. The national program "requires facilities to report the release of toxins, while the provincial program en- couraged companies to re- formulate products and de- termine safer ways to pro- duce them. The interactive map was also unique to Ontario. McRobert shares an ex- ~ ample of an Ottawa woman experiencing health prob- lems that she suspected were related to a nearby company. She searched on the TRA map for her com- munity, learned what chemicals were being re- leased, and saw that a sol- vent she was sensitive to was being used to clean products at a local comput- er company. Armed with that knowledge, she asked the ministry to investigate whether there was a re- ported spill or compliance issue, and was considering filing an application for in- vestigation under Onta- rio's Environmental Bill of Rights, McRobert says. McMaster PhD student Cathy Slavik and Professor Paul Demers believe the TRA could serve as a tool to inform workers of poten- tial carcinogens in their workplace; data could help predict work-related health problems before they arise. "Every year, thousands of people die from cancer due to workplace expo- sures in Canada, many time the number of death due to workplace acci- dents," Demers says. The pair were part of the first major study using TRA data to analyze trends in industrial carcinogens and its potential impact in the workplace. They noted areas where the number of industrial facilities report- ing the use of toxic sub- stances is highest - City of Toronto and Peel Region - as well as regions where the volume of toxic sub- stance use is particularly high: Lambton County (chemical industry), Sud- bury (nickel operations) and Niagara Region (steel industry). ; While there are merit to both programs - a na- . tional toxic substance database and a provincial toxin reduction plan - some organizations say neither go far enough. "It's just paper work," says Doug Hietkamp, direc- tor of sustainable develop- ment at Teknion. Teknion is an award- winning office furniture design firm in Toronto ; Torstar staff photo Doug Hietkamp, director of sustainable development programs at Teknion, goes through the company's plant, where product frames are being welded. with facilities in Vaughan. "The intent was right," he says of both programs. "It's like the governments had to have it in place, but it's designed not to disturb the status quo." Hietkamp says sustain- ability is at the forefront of Teknion's business model; it follows international eco-certifications and avoids use or creation of pollutants found on inter- national toxin lists. "This is what drives us," Hietkamp said. "Our cus- tomers are demanding it." Slavik sees hope in this growing consumer de- mand for green products. "There has been a gener- al trend for reducing the use of toxins and moving toward greener technolo- gy," she says. "Right now, we are not in a period where we're seeing a lot of progress, but generally, we are hopeful." Oudyk is not so optimis- tic. "I'm getting close to re- tirement and it seems we're fighting the same battles we fought back in the '70s and '80s," he says. "We've known for a long time the risks from chemicals and how to protect people, but the political will to force employers to stop their use just isn't there." ; Industry sectors ranked by carcinogen emissions og tors WOOD PRODUCT MANUFACMIRING of all industry sector: - FOOD MANUFACTURING 4% of all industry sectors as 47 y of all industry-seetors | oreo 30% of all industry sectors 16% of all industry sectors 13% of all 13% of all industry sector: 7 industry sectors ~ Source: Compiled by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, from NPRI reporting 2011 to 2015 NTARY 1 REPORT 7 RED TION PLAN 2012 2013 2014, 2015 2016 ONTAINE] INNES i i 2,500,000 2.000,000 1,500,000 \ % h -- | 1,000,000 | Ee 3 500,000 : 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Torstar graphics 6102-82 JaquanoN 'Aepsiny) | uoidweys ueipeued uo | 6¢ woo uo}jeyapisul -

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