In the study, a concentration of benzo (a) pyrene — a carcinogenic chemical – in Hamilton exceeded the Ontario air quality guidelines.
The research, led by the City of Hamilton and funded by Health Canada, has been underway for nearly two years.
In that time, more than 60 air monitors have been attached to street poles in every ward to track air quality. A public town hall took place on Tuesday night to discuss the results.
Of note, benzo (a)pyrene, a chemical created when certain substances are not burned completely, was found across the city – not solely in areas near steel mills that commonly emit the cancer-linked chemicals.
Occupational exposures to the carcinogen have been associated with a series of cancers, including lung and bladder, according to the National Library of Medicine.
“It’s actually more ubiquitous across the entire city than we expected,” Matthew Adams, a University of Toronto associate professor and air-quality expert co-ordinating the study, said.
Hamilton’s steelmakers – ArcelorMittal Dofasco and Stelco – are among the top benzo (a)pyrene emitters in the country.