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Ontario issues order to company on benzene emissions

A sign for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Resource Centre is shown in Sarnia, Ont., on April 21, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Craig Glover

TORONTO — Ontario's environment ministry has ordered a Sarnia-area chemical company to get its benzene emissions under control after a neighbouring First Nation raised concerns.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation is surrounded by industrial facilities and has long pushed for greater monitoring and action to protect their air quality and earlier this month they said data showed elevated levels of benzene.

The provincial environment ministry has issued a compliance order to INEOS Styrolution Sarnia, which produces styrene for use in making plastic.

That company must develop a plan by April 26 to prevent, reduce and eliminate wastewater discharge of benzene, which is a carcinogen.

The company must also implement procedures to notify the public when benzene concentrations in air exceed certain thresholds by May 3, and take action to prevent, decrease and eliminate other sources of benzene discharge by May 17.

INEOS Styrolution Sarnia has temporarily shut down the facility for the week and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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