Ontario chemistry industry welcomes comprehensive air quality study in Sarnia

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) welcomes Minister Ballard’s announcement of a comprehensive air quality and health impacts study for the Sarnia community. The Association has always been a strong advocate of such studies with both the Ontario and federal governments.

“As Responsible Care® companies, CIAC members are firmly dedicated to the protection of human health and the environment,” said Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO. “We know that we are accountable to the public, especially local communities, who have the right to understand both the risks and benefits of what we do. We are also committed to dialogue and engagement with all stakeholders and recognize the Aamjiwnaang First Nation as a distinct component of the broader Sarnia community.”

Benzene and Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) emissions are of special concern to our industry, regulators, and the Sarnia community. CIAC Responsible Care member-companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Governments of Canada and Ontario in 1994 to reduce benzene emissions by 70 per cent before 2001. Not only were those targets achieved, but today benzene releases from our operations are 97 per cent below 1994 levels. Building on the success of that initiative, a similar MOU was established in 1997, calling for a 25 per cent reduction in VOC emissions by 2002. Today, our industry’s VOC emissions are 75 per cent lower than in 1997.

During recent months our industry has been a full participant in several productive regulatory processes led by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, with a particular focus on air quality issues in the Sarnia community.

“Despite past progress, we understand that public attention is often focused on the environmental performance of our industry,” added Masterson. “As has been the case for the past 30 years, we remain fully committed to continuous improvement in our performance and to productive engagement with all stakeholders.”

CIAC member-companies welcome the opportunity to support and fully participate in Minister Ballard’s proposed study.