Announcement: February 17, 2004

IJC Releases Report On Air Quality In Michigan and Ontario Regional Areas

The International Joint Commission today released a report targeting air quality in the Detroit/Windsor, Port Huron/Sarnia and Sault Ste. Marie areas of Michigan and Ontario. The new report finds that smog in these urban regions can be found at levels that compromise human health and have an immediate and pronounced negative impact on the most sensitive individuals including the very young and the elderly.

The new report, "Air Quality in Selected Binational Great Lakes Urban Regions", written by the Commission's International Air Quality Advisory Board (IAQAB), contains a review of current available ambient air quality data, control programs and other cooperative efforts focused on these three locations. The IAQAB analyzed data on concentrations of ozone, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and total reduced sulphur in the air, as well as concentrations and emissions of selected hazardous air pollutants in all three areas.

The Commission is encouraged by the recent announcement by Canadian and U.S. federal governments of two Border Air Quality Pilot Studies, one of which will be conducted in the Southeast Michigan-Southwestern Ontario region. The Commission offers the report of its IAQAB as a useful reference document as the pilot study considers regional air quality and related human health impacts.

In this most recent overview, containing more than a decade of data on common air pollutants such as ozone and fine dust, the IAQAB finds that incidents of unacceptable air quality, largely due to these two pollutants, continue to plague these regions. Local and regional sources are both implicated.

The International Joint Commission is a binational organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. It provides advice to the governments of Canada and the United States on boundary waters and on air quality issues of transboundary concern. In 1966 the governments asked the International Joint Commission to observe air quality along the entire Canada and United States boundary and, as appropriate, to bring air pollution problems to the attention of the governments. The Commission established the International Air Quality Advisory Board to identify and provide advice on air pollution issues with transboundary implications. The board includes five members from Canada and five from the United States who have expertise in various aspects of air pollution effects and control. They are appointed by the Commission and serve as advisors in their personal and professional capacities.

This report and others prepared by the International Air Quality Board are available on the IJC’s web site at:

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Day Windsor, ON / Detroit, MI (519) 257-6733/
(313) 226-2170 ext. 6733
Frank Bevacqua Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024
Fabien Lengellé Ottawa, ON (613) 995-0088
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