The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has proposed new air standards, under Regulation 419/05, for
1. Acrolein – EBR 010-6241
2. Benzene – EBR 010-7186 3. 1,3 – Butadiene – EBR 010-6214
4.Hexavalent Chromium, and Chromium and Chromium Compounds Divalent and Trivalent – EBR 010-6353
5. Dioxins, Furans and Dioxin-like PCBs – EBR 010-7193
6. Manganese and Manganese Compounds – EBR 010-6253
7. Nickel and Nickel Compounds – EBR 010-7188
8. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – EBR 010-6213
9. Uranium and Uranium Compounds – EBR 010-7192.
For each contaminant, an Upper Risk Threshold will be added to Schedule 6 immediately. All facilities in Ontario are “expected” to operate below the Upper Risk Threshold, because of the risk to human health if they exceed it. In addition, new 24-hour and half hour average standards will be phased into schedules 2 and 3 of O. Reg. 419/05 over five years, where they will become enforceable on all Ontario air emitters.
One of the reasons MOE lost in the Lafarge case, Dawber v. Director, is that it was issuing air approvals for benzene emissions without a formal regulation to define what levels are “acceptable”. Since benzene is a non-threshold carcinogen, the decision was arguably “unreasonable”. The Environmental Review Tribunal echoed the criticisms of the Environmental Commissioner that MOE was dragging its feet on “high priority” contaminants, including arsenic, benzene, mercury, dioxins and furans. This proposal will plug part of that gap.