ChemTRAC: Toronto's TOXIC Businesses

We continue to work on getting information about how toxic chemicals affect people and their body, their home and their workplace. This time Regent Park Focus got together with Toronto Public Health's ChemTRAC program. ChemTRAC aims to improve public health and support a green local economy by reducing toxic chemicals in our environment.

December 10 2012, Toronto Public Health representatives, community health corkers and environmentally conscious residents of Toronto gathered around in a room at the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) to have a further talk about the ChemTRAC program. 

After a history lesson on how ChemTRAC came to be, the morning meeting was focused on the ChemTRAC website; where Toronto residents, can get information on the types of businesses that operate in their communities that may be emitting toxic chemicals in the air they breathe. On the website residents can find information on the types of chemicals that might be released in the air, what their affects are to the human body and where you can go if you feel that these chemicals have entered your body. 
The ChemTRAC website is also a resource for businesses, the site encourages businesses to disclose the types of chemicals they use in their business. The site also provides businesses a variety list of eco-friendly chemicals they could be using. 

From the morning meeting it was clear that many companies may not want to disclose the types of chemicals they use in their businesses, so there was a lot of talk about creating a bylaw that will force companies to disclose their toxic chemicals, and fine them if they do not change how they do business in a way that is more eco-friendly. At the moment businesses are encouraged to disclose their chemicals on a voluntary basis.

Overall the meeting was very informative. Some of the people around the table had suggested that the language used on the website should be simplified, because not all Toronto residents have a PHD in chemistry, and they wouldn't understand how these toxic chemicals can harm the human body.  

In the near future, Regent Park Focus and members of the ChemTRAC program will be working together on a video documentary about the ChemTRAC program.   

This project was funded (in part) by a grant from Live Green Toronto, a program of the City of Toronto.

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