From John O’Grady, TTC Chief Safety Officer

You may have seen or heard media reports on a Health Canada study that was released today examining air quality and pollution in our subway system. This study is based on research done in 2010 and 2011 and was designed to measure airborne dust as a function of particle size. It did not draw any conclusions about the impact of that air on health. The analysis confirmed that the dust is primarily iron from the steel rail and wheels. Previous TTC subway air quality studies have already reviewed occupational exposures to the individual components found in this dust and concluded that it does not present a significant health risk.

I want to reassure all of our employees, especially those of you working in the underground parts of the system, the TTC remains fully committed to your health and safety.

In fact, it’s because of this that we agreed to work with Health Canada on this research when they approached us about it. The information we now have will be incredibly valuable in establishing a baseline against which we can measure the impact of the numerous steps we have already taken.

Things we are already doing include the purchase of a new track vacuum car outfitted with a gold-standard high efficiency particulate air filtration system, a corridor cleaning program, station/tunnel washing and the T1 air duct cleaning program. We have also improved air filtration on the new TR trains.

Further, with the research now in hand, we will move quickly to undertake a new subway air quality study. The Safety & Environment Department has been in discussions with several work groups to start that study in the coming months and will work with affected Joint Health and Safety Committees.

For further information, please read our TTC Subway Air Quality and Particulate Matter Frequently Asked Questions.

The TTC remains a safe system for our customers and employees.