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Toronto Smog Summit

- This gathering of interested parties (and who isn’t interested in the air we breathe?) in the biggest and most polluted city in Canada has come up with some very interesting information. Here are some excerpts:

  • Canada is reducing sulphur in gasoline through regulations that require reductions across Canada to 150 parts per million (ppm) by 2002 and 30 ppm by the end of 2004. The reductions are especially important in Ontario, which has the highest sulphur levels in gasoline in Canada. These regulations will avoid, over the next 20 years, more than 2000 premature deaths, 93,000 cases of bronchitis in children and 11 million incidents of respiratory problems such as asthma attacks.
  • Sulphur in Diesel Regulations, effective since January 1, 1998, limit the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in on road vehicles to a maximum of 500 ppm. The Government has also announced its intention to further reduce sulphur in diesel to 15 parts per million (ppm) by 2006 in line with similar requirements for diesel sold in the United States.
  • Benzene in Gasoline Regulations, effective since July 1999, require reduced levels of benzene in gasoline.

Protecting yourself

Time it right. Avoid exercising outdoors in the afternoon and early evening on smoggy days.

Take notice. When you hear a smog advisory, take notice -- especially if you are elderly or already have lung or heart disease. If you have small children, curb their outdoor play time.

Take a detour. Avoid exercising near heavy traffic areas, especially during rush hour, to minimize your exposure to pollution from motor vehicles.

Taking action:

  • Use public transportation or car-pool instead of using your car; after all, one bus-load of passengers saves nine tonnes of air pollution each year. If smog levels are not too high, try walking or cycling.

  • Make fuel efficiency a prime factor in your choice of a new car. Pass up options, such as air conditioning, that burn more gas; buy a smaller vehicle to reduce pollution and travel costs; and consider alternative fuels such as propane, natural gas and ethanol.

  • Keeping your car engine tuned and your tires properly inflated increases fuel efficiency.

  • Transport Canada estimates that differences in driving style can lead to a 20 percent variation in fuel consumption. Driving at moderate speeds and avoiding quick starts and stops uses less fuel.

  • Idling your car engine for even one minute uses more fuel than turning it off and re-starting.

  • Swap gasoline-powered vehicles and machinery, such as motorboats, motorbikes and gas lawnmowers, for human-powered versions like canoes and sailboats, bicycles, and electric or push lawnmowers.

  • The evaporation of solvents found in household cleaners and surface coatings is a major source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Use alternative products wherever possible, and handle and dispose of all solvent-based products with care.

Source: www.ec.gc.ca/air/index_e.htm