Getting The Lead Out of South Riverdale

Here’s a news clip from 1987. At this point, it had been over 15-years of community struggle to “Get The Lead Out” of young children’s blood (caused by emissions from the Canada Metal Co., a lead smelter on Eastern Ave. in Toronto).  Drawing attention to the problem included dumping soil at the hazardous waste depot. The struggle became “Getting The Lead Out”  as each problem was successfully resolved. The community fought for on going blood testing, air monitoring, pollution control, removal of toxic soil, and reduction of toxic house dust.  The lead industry sued the media, (including the CBC and individual journalists), hospital and medical professionals and some community members. Still the community persisted.

Clean-up occurred on 1000  South Riverdale residential properties and three schools. The level of lead in children’s blood dropped. It was nearly another thirty years until the source of the problem moved. A few times after the clean-up, Canada Metal exceeded the acceptable air quality level. The lead industry contributed nothing towards the $11 million clean-up and continued to operate owing the city years of back taxes.

Today, a business related to the film industry owns the land and is a much welcomed neighbor.

More of the news coverage of the process: