Toronto Board of Health Unanimously Votes Against Jet Plans

Citing Risks for Public Health, Municipal Body Urges City Council to Stop Jet Plans airpollution_article TORONTO - How bad are Porter's jet plans for Toronto's health? Bad enough for the City's Board of Health to unanimously vote against the expansion plans. The planned airport expansion would significantly increase cancer, respiratory, and cardiovascular risks for those who live and work downtown. Strong words were uttered by some members of the Board of Health at the December 9th meeting such as “this is wrong” and “we have reached a health crisis”. On December 9th, the Toronto Board Of Health unanimously passed a motion, which recommended: “In light of the public health evidence outlined in the Health Impact Assessment, that the Board of Health recommend to City Council that the proposed expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and introduction of jet engines be rejected”. Key findings:
  • Current levels of pollution exceed health benchmarks and contribute to the overall existing burden of respiratory, cardiovascular, and cancer- related illness in Toronto. BBTCA is one source contributing to this burden.
  • Of the carcinogens considered in the HIA (Health Impact Assessment), nine are likely emitted by the BBTCA. Combined, emissions of these pollutants from BBTCA are predicted to increase the lifetime cancer risk at locations near the airport.
  • The health risks reach all the way up to Queen street, those who work in the financial district, hospitals on university avenue and all the way up to queens park circle.
  • Common air contaminants include carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, PM2.5, and nitrogen oxides.
Toronto Board of Health -   Figure 3 Figure 3 illustrates the change in lifetime cancer risk arising from the chromium VI, which is the most important contributor to predicted cancer risk related to BBTCA operations. In this figure, darker colours indicate higher risk. As with NO2, the effects can be observed across the downtown. Reports of contamination damage present in the water nearby BBTCA, which violates the Tripartite agreement included the following in the board of health motion that passed: “Recommend that City Council require Toronto Water to carry out an inspection of the BBTCA's ethylene glycol containment system and stormwater run-off system to ensure compliance with City by-laws.” To support the health of the people who live, work, and play nearby, current impacts should be reduced and managed, an expanded airport with or without jets, significantly increases the health impacts of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. The Toronto Board of Health Links: Health Impacts Associated with Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Expansion Toronto Board of Health consideration on December 9, 2013