Environmental Health


Air Quality

Air pollution causes cardiovascular and respiratory health problems, affects birth outcomes, brain development and function, and is linked to cancer, chronic diseases, including diabetes, and other illnesses. 

Toronto Public Health estimates that air pollution in Toronto from all sources currently gives rise to 1,300 premature deaths and 3,550 hospitalizations annually.

Recent trends in levels of the five most common air pollutants suggest that air quality in Toronto is improving. However, more still needs to be done to curb emissions in the City.

Learn more about how to protect your health, what you can do to reduce air pollution emissions, and what the city is doing to improve air quality.


Air Quality Health Index

The Air Quality Health Index tells you the risk from air pollution and makes recommendations in terms of outdoor activity.

What you can do to reduce your emissions

Emissions from traffic and homes, including houses and apartments are the biggest contributors to air pollution emitted in Toronto. Finding ways to reduce your energy use both at home and on the road will help to reduce emissions and lead to cleaner air for everyone.

Reduce energy use at home:

  • Conserve electricity year-round by adjusting the heat or air conditioner and turning off lights you are not using
  • Use cold water instead of hot water every time you wash your clothes
  • Reduce the number of drying cycles by half (by hanging your clothes or making sure your dryer is full)
  • Keep all air vents and doors to unused rooms closed when your furnace or air conditioner is operating
  • Clean the coils on the back of your refrigerator by brushing off or vacuuming the dust
  • Use your dishwasher only when full; use the energy saving or light wash cycle; select the air dry option
  • Turn off computers, TVs and other electrical appliances when not in use; to reduce “phantom” or “stand-by” power use, plug electrical items into a power bar and switch off
  • Close the fireplace damper or air-tight fireplace door after each use of your fireplace
  • Replace your standard light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs

Reduce vehicle use:

  • Carpool – share a ride to work, school or to events
  • Use public transit – take the bus, streetcar, subway or GO Train
  • Walk and bike – use your legs for great exercise
  • Telework – work from home even once a month and make a difference
  • Trip chain – combine errands into one journey rather than making several separate car trips


Reduce vehicle emissions:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated; check your tire pressure at least twice a month and add air when needed
  • Keep your engine properly tuned
  • Take your time speeding up and slowing down
  • Limit the amount you idle your engine – it wastes gas and creates air pollution
  • Choose an energy-efficient vehicle; larger cars and engines often burn more fuel and cost more money to run
  • Consider a hybrid or electric vehicle