February 4, 1957

HEALTH INSURANCE

TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN FEDERAL AND ONTARIO GOVERNMENTS

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, on January 29 last the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre asked my colleague, the Minister of National Health and Welfare, to table the correspondence between the federal government and the government of the province of Ontario regarding hospital insurance. I wish to let the house know that copies of this correspondence, in English and in French, will be deposited with the Clerk of the house at three o'clock this afternoon, this to coincide with the time when the correspondence will be made public by the premier of Ontario in the legislature of that province.

Topic:   HEALTH INSURANCE
Subtopic:   TABLING OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN FEDERAL AND ONTARIO GOVERNMENTS
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EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT

PROVISIONS RESPECTING ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FACILITIES AND RESERVES

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. 46, to amend the Export Credits Insurance Act.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISIONS RESPECTING ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FACILITIES AND RESERVES
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Could we have an explanation?

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISIONS RESPECTING ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FACILITIES AND RESERVES
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe (Port Arthur):

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to amend the Export Credits Insurance Act in two ways: First, to authorize the corporation to provide insurance for certain transactions for which there has been a considerable demand of late and, second, to allow the corporation to set up reserves for possible losses in calculating taxable income.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISIONS RESPECTING ADDITIONAL INSURANCE FACILITIES AND RESERVES
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HEALTH AND WELFARE

PROPOSED REQUIREMENT OF DEVICE TO RENDER HARMLESS POISONOUS GASES EMITTED BY ENGINES

PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. Charlton (Branl-Haldimand) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of taking steps to further protect the health of the nation by making the necessary amendments under the Criminal

Code, to provide penalties against owners or operators of all diesel-powered vehicles or railway engines for failure to equip said vehicles with some suitable device to render harmless, poisonous gases emitted from the exhaust of such vehicles or engines.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I move this resolution because I feel that diesel and gasoline fumes are a definite menace to the health of the nation, especially so in districts of concentrated population. This is the third time I have had this resolution on the order paper. Its wording is changed somewhat from that of last year because of the fact that the government felt-and as I admitted myself at the start of the debate-that the matter would come more rightly under provincial jurisdiction. However, afterwards I was told that it is definitely under the jurisdiction of this federal authority. It is my sincere hope that through the discussion of this resolution we may bring about a general awareness of the dangers we encounter in the air we breathe.

Canadians have fought hard for the pure food laws that guarantee that our food is not contaminated. We have organized and paid for expensive water systems that assure us of a plentiful supply of pure water. There have been heated debates on the question of whether our drinking water should be fluoridated to prevent tooth decay. But until quite recently practically nothing has been done about the air we breathe. It was brought out forcibly by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Philpott) last year in this debate how important to the human body is the air we breathe. While a person can do without food-and I am quoting his words- for three weeks and can do without water for approximately three days, he can do without air for only approximately three minutes. In some parts of England the cause, effect and cure of smoke pollution is now a high school subject and radio and television programs have aroused the public with regard to smoke prevention. This is a lead which should be followed elsewhere because not until everyone is his own smoke inspector will city air be fit to breathe. Although this resolution deals specifically with diesel fumes, I should like to discuss for a few minutes the possible effects of high concentration of exhaust fumes from gasoline-burning engines.

It is a well known fact that the mileage per gallon of gasoline decreases considerably in stop and go city traffic. At cruising speed

Health and Welfare

about 250 parts per million of the total exhaust is unburned vapour. When a motor is idling it is two or three times that figure; but when you lift your foot off the accelerator and decelerate your motor, it goes up as high as 5,000 parts per million. That is the reason for its being in such high concentration in heavy city traffic. It is generally conceded that about 7 per cent of gasoline is unburned, and this figure could be increased to about 8 per cent or 9 per cent through further evaporation from the carburetor and fuel tank.

This problem is one which we must face in the near future as the number of motor vehicles increases in Canada, and the number is increasing very rapidly. Then, far more important, is the fact that deadly gases are emitted with the exhaust fumes. One of these gases is known as carbon monoxide, and with which the average motorist is only vaguely familiar. We may attribute this lack of familiarity to the fact that they cannot smell it, taste it, feel it or hear it. Yet, within a very few minutes, it is capable of reducing the mental functions of a driver to a point where the co-ordination of muscles and the ability to react properly in the operation of the vehicle is below even the minimum requirements for safety. Carbon monoxide in a concentration of .02 to .03 will cause headaches; from .04 to .07, unconsciousness; and from .08 to .1, death.

Unlike some poisons it does not allow the human to build immunity to it over a period of time. Repeated exposures, particularly to attacks of acute poisoning, result in increasing susceptibility to the gas and cause cumulative tissue damage. It might be well to pursue the theory that carbon monoxide is the cause of a great many accidents on our highways because it causes inefficiency in the driver. At some time or other all of us have experienced a condition of sleepiness while driving our car. We have also perceived odours from our own car and from cars in front of us. We have experienced headaches, dizziness and sometimes carsickness. Whenever any of these symptoms occur while you are driving, consider carbon monoxide.

I have an article here put out by the motor vehicle research and written by Arthur J. White, who is the director of that research board, on carbon monoxide. The article is headed, "I'm just a steering wheel," and I think it is appropriate to quote it at this time.

I'm ju-t a wheel. A steering wheel. And you're my captain. Behind me you're the lord and master of a miracle. You can make me take the kids to school. You can turn me down the sunny road toward town. With me you can guide your goods

to the market place . . . you can rush the sick to be healed . . . you can go in minutes to places hours away. You can do magic.

Yet, in the blink of an eye, in the tick of your watch, I can turn deadly killer. I can snuff out the life of a kid still full of life-maybe your kid. I can twist a smile into tears. I can wreck and cripple and destroy. I can deal out death like the plague. And I'm no respecter of persons. A child, a grandmother, even you, my friend . . . it's all the same to me.

I'm sensitive. I respond instantly to the hands you give me. Give me calm hands, steady hands, careful hands . . . and I'm your friend. But give me unsteady hands, fuzzy-minded hands, reckless hands . . . then I'm your enemy, a menace to the life, the happiness, the future of every person, every youngster riding, walking, playing.

I was made for pleasure and usefulness. Keep me that way. I'm in your hands. I'm just a steering wheel and you're my captain. Behind me you're the lord and master of a miracle . . . or a tragedy. It's up to you.

Bear in mind that death from carbon monoxide is not restricted to tightly closed garages when the motor is running, but collapse can occur when cars are parked with their motors running or, in some cases, even while they are travelling along the highway. There have been many cases. Only this morning there appeared in the Globe and Mail a report of the death of two people in a motor car just north of Toronto. It is not an isolated case at all. Many of them come up every week. It is safe to assume that carbon monoxide has contributed a great deal to many accidents heretofore classed as unexplained. To substantiate this, the California highway patrol checked 1,007 automobiles while on the open highway and found that 30 cars contained concentrations of this gas in excess of the maximum safe limit. The conclusion of the survey showed that 3 per cent of the cars tested were found to have carbon monoxide in such quantities as would give a driver a headache or cause sleepiness, weakness, impaired judgment and decrease the driving ability over a period of several hours, and that no automobile, regardless of the age or anything else, is free from the p-ssibility of carbon monoxide entering the driver or passenger compartment.

It behooves every motorist to have his car tested for complete exhaust system tightness, and to observe the rules of safety at all times to rule out as much as possible the dangers of this lethal gas that is an apparent part of our present day motoring.

In the same magazine article that I quoted a short time ago, Mr. Speaker, are contained some of the things that one should particularly take cognizance of if he is the owner of a motor vehicle. I quote:

One excellent rule to follow in reference to the exhau~t system of an automobile to prevent the pos~ibility of its failure is to renew the muffler and tail pipe, with complete inspection of the

balance, at 35,000 miles or every two years of operation. The cost involved in this procedure is not excessive in any respect and will, without question, minimize the possibility of failure.

We must bear in mind that our automobile produces one and one-third gallons of water for every gallon of gasoline it consumes. This water has a direct effect upon the entire exhaust system, the same as water has effect upon iron or steel.

However, we have another agent coupled with this water, in the form of corrosive gases that accelerate the rotting and eroding of the entire exhaust system.

We must also bear in mind that the salts and calcium chlorides used on the road attack from the exterior the entire exhaust system that is exposed during normal driving.

All of us at some time or other may have inspected our fire wall in our engine compartment during the installation of some accessory. We have noted that the manufacturers have placed rubber grommets and rubber barriers between the driver's compartment and the engine compartment for two reasons. One, to reduce the possibility of any control wires and tubes causing excessive vibration and annoying sounds. Two, these have been placed there also to prevent any fumes from the engine compartment entering the driver's compartment.

It is not good safety pactice to drill any holes through this fire wall without making sufficient provisions for the prevention of entrance of exhaust gases or fumes of the engine.

Floor boards should be carefully inspected for breaks, erosion and the loss of knock-outs (placed in the floors of some cars in anticipation of the installation of a special accessory). Inspection should not be confined alone to the actual floor boards but under the seats should be inspected also for these conditions.

Inspection of weather stripping in the trunk compartment should also be taken into consideration and replaced if failure has occurred. The floor of the trunk should be inspected also for erosion, cracks, et cetera.

The foregoing may appear on the surface to be a great deal of trouble for the average motorist to go to in reference to his automobile. However, a simple question asked by the motorist of himself would give him the answer. "Whose health is involved and whose life is in danger?"

If that condition exists on the open highway, what is the situation in areas of highly concentrated traffic? Tests have been taken in those areas and on a busy street concentrations of .09 per cent have been found during a period of high temperature and humidity. Do not forget, Mr. Speaker, that just a few moments ago I quoted .09 per cent as the percentage which would cause death and a concentration of this percentage has been found in city streets during high traffic periods. No wonder the busy housewife often comes home from a shopping trip downtown with a splitting headache.

Unlike the gasoline engine the diesel operates normally with excess air. The fuel is injected into the cylinder and is ignited by virtue of the temperature and pressure in the cylinder rather than by a spark. The fuel used is heavier than gasoline and has a higher boiling range. Because of the excess air used very little of the fuel is normally exhausted unburned, unlike the gasoline motor. Under certain conditions of operation,

Health and Welfare

however, both smoke and aldehydes are evolved. The latter are quite noticeable in high concentrations because of their pungent odour and eye-irritating characteristics. I am sure I do not need to describe this to any hon. member who has walked down the street in any large city where diesel busses are used because he will be quite aware of this fact if he has been at any time in the situation I referred to. It is concluded that the contribution of the various pollutants except hydrocarbons per barrel of fuel burned is two to ten times greater from diesel fuel than from gasoline. The odour and irritating effects of the exhaust gas of diesel engines are caused mainly by aldehydes that occur in varying amounts depending on several other factors such as the fuel, the air ratio at which the engine is operating, the design of the engine, the engine temperature and the condition of the fuel injection equipment or mechanism. If the exhaust gas contains a high concentration of aldehydes it is definitely irritating to the eyes and nasal passages. In fact, the irritating effect may be more noticeable than the odour if one is exposed to a high concentration of the exhaust gas. The most dangerous gas in diesel fumes both with regard to injury to health and the amount produced is the oxides of nitrogen which when inhaled form nitric and nitrous acids in the respiratory organs. Let us compare oxides of nitrogen with carbon monoxide, as far as toxicity is concerned. An atmosphere containing .5 to 1.0 per cent of carbon monoxide is likely to be fatal to human beings in less than 30 minutes of exposure, whereas as little as .07 per cent of oxides of nitrogen may cause fatality in the same length of time. In the case of carbon monoxide it is from .5 to 1 per cent and in the case of oxides of nitrogen it is .07 per cent. This is an indication of the danger to health from the exhaust gas of diesel motors in comparison with the exhaust from gasoline motors.

I have here some of the conclusions taken from a publication called "The Atmospheric Pollution Problem in Canada" written by Dr. Morris Katz of the defence research chemical laboratories, Ottawa. Under "health aspects" on page 6 it states this:

The acute effects of unrestricted air pollution on public health have been demonstrated unpleasantly but conclusively in three air pollution disasters-namely, the Meuse valley in Belgium 1930, Donora, Pa. 1948, and Poza Rica in Mexico 1950.

The chronic effects of air pollution are not so clearly defined. Nevertheless the frequent occurrence of eye irritation during smogs in the Los Angeles area and statistics on the increase in the death rate from respiratory disease during fogs in industrial communities in England represent evidence which cannot be ignored. In Canada. Barrett and Kay have considered the loss of sunshine and decrease in ultravoilet irradiation as

Health and Welfare

contributing factors in the occurrence of deficiency diseases such as rickets. However, some authorities claim that the chronic effects of air pollution have never been demonstrated conclusively.

The Donora report has stressed the significance of a synergistic effect in air pollution whereby the combined influence of a number of toxic contaminants occurring simultaneously may be far greater than the additive effect of individual contaminants. The health panel at the U.S. technical conference of May, 1950, concluded that pollution of the atmosphere is associated with a frequent and apparently increasing occurrence of acute and chronic diseases, involving especially the respiratory tract and the skin.

For several years now diesel engines have been used underground in mining operations of various kinds. It would not have been possible had they not devised an economical method of rendering these diesel fumes practically harmless to miners working underground in contact with these fumes. The equipment used is known to the trade as a scrubber. Briefly, it is an arrangement whereby the exhaust fumes are passed through an aqueous solution of sodium sulphite with a percentage of hydroquinone added. The cost of chemicals for operating this device is in the neighbourhood of 10 cents per working hour. The cost of the equipment is not unreasonable and I understand is presently available. With regard to this equipment, I have here a booklet entitled "Recent Developments in Atmospheric Pollution" by Dr. Katz again. This is report No. 148 which was published in May, 1954, and I quote:

Recent devices for protection and control in the Los Angeles area include a charcoal filtration unit for home air conditioning and a proposed filter and catalyst to remove aldehydes, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and other objectionable effluents from the exhaust gases of automobiles, busses and trucks.

Air pollution will be of increasing importance in planning of cities and industrial communities. Meteorological and topographical factors will be taken into account in community planning in relation to location of industrial and residential areas. Industry will be decentralized and, in certain areas, residences will not be allowed too close to certain types of heavy industrial operations. Industry will be protected against the unreasonable encroachment of residential developments and vice versa. Certain types of industry will be permitted to use only certain land areas based on the ability to control objectionable contamination. Zoning of areas will include more extended use of land for public parks, gardens and wooded areas to prevent overcrowding of sources of emission.

Most hon. members have followed behind a diesel truck or bus on the highway, but I will wager that they either passed it as soon as possible or slowed down to let it get far enough ahead so the fumes did not bother them. Most diesel trucks are now equipped with high exhaust pipes but I am doubtful just how much good such high exhaust pipes on these trucks are because unfortunately at high speeds the fumes come down over the back of the truck to car level and enter

through the air vents in the front of most new cars. Most motorists realize that the air vents should be closed especially when following a diesel truck or any other truck on the highway or in areas of dense traffic, but how many people bother to do so until the odour becomes noticeable. That may be all right in the case of diesel fumes but remember that you cannot smell carbon monoxide.

It is not only motorists who are subjected to these fumes. Pedestrians on city streets where diesel buses are used get a substantial amount of such fumes every time a bus passes them. These fumes are quite noticeable also to passengers in buses, especially at stops when the doors are opened. Most passengers on diesel power trains have noticed the fumes when the air conditioning is turned on in their sleeping quarters. Almost everyone has noticed the irritating qualities of diesel fumes, but what do they do about it? They complain and grumble but accept it as part of present day living. This situation will be so accepted until public opinion is aroused to the point where governments are forced into action.

I could quote from many articles on this subject. I should like to refer first to the speech I made last year on January 30, as found at page 660 of Hansard, where some can be found, and I have others here to which I should like to refer. In the Ottawa Journal of June 9, 1956 a very interesting article appeared, one that was most heartening to me because it was headed, "New 'Fumes' Regulations Aimed at Diesel Trains." I will not read the whole article but at one point it has this to say:

Mr. Martin states: "At the request of the board of transport commissioners, a complete revision has been undertaken of the regulations and orders dealing with the control of atmospheric pollution from railroad operations of companies subject to the legislative authority of parliament."

Specifically, the department of health and welfare has drafted a revised order No. 18 for the board of transport. The draft has been sent to the railways to see what they think of it.

The principal amendments to order 18, circa 1908, will be the incorporation of restrictive regulations for the emission of diesel fumes. It is suggested too that the new regulations will apply to all of Canada, rather than Ontario only.

As I say, Mr. Speaker, that article was very heartening to me because it appeared shortly after the resolution had been before the house last year. On checking through the annual report of the Department of National Health and Welfare for the year ended March 31, 1956, I am discouraged by the amount of space given to this subject. There is not quite a page and no particular mention is made of diesel fumes. As a matter of fact, very little is said except with reference to industrial dusts. I agree that the department has done a considerable

amount of work in the Windsor-Detroit area for which Dr. Katz deserves a good deal of credit. I should like to refer to an article that appeared in the Ottawa Journal of January 19, 1955, headed, "Windsor Air Pollution Study May Help Fight Smoke, Smog." The article deals with an interview with Dr. Katz at the Seigniory Club, Quebec and reads in part as follows:

The results oi an intensive study of air pollution in the Detroit-Windsor area may be the means of improving and broadening the health programs of any city, Dr. Morris B. Katz of Ottawa said Tuesday.

Under his direction, a five year investigation, first related to the smoke nuisance from great lakes vessels passing through the Detroit river, has been carried out.

Then further on:

We are studying all toxic materials, whether from smoke pouring from the plants of industry or from exhausts of automobiles.

As I say, I commend the government for the work that is being done but I must say I do not think they are doing enough and are not doing it fast enough to cope with the problem that exists in Canada today in the large industrial areas. Here is another article that appeared in the Ottawa Journal of April 11, 1956. It is headed, "Polluted Air Boosts Lung Cancer", and is written by the United Press science editor, Delos Smith. It reads:

The newest scientific contribution to the controversy over what is responsible for the remarkable rise in lung cancers makes an impressive case against the polluted atmospheres of industrialized cities, and lets cigarette smoking off the hook.

Further on there are these words:

In New Zealand the white population came from one place, the British Isles, and so its members are similar in background and racial stock. The native born population is descended from Britishers who went there no earlier, for the most part, than a hundred years ago, which neatly eliminates another variable.

David F. Eastcott, assistant director of the national health institute of New Zealand, began his study with the total of cancer deaths among white New Zealanders from 1949 through 1953. He divided these between whites who were native born and whites who had been immigrants.

Now he had two sets of figures. He divided each set according to the site of the fatal cancer- stomach, lung, prostate grand, breast and so on. Then he was ready to compare the two sets. For no site except one was there a statistically significant difference in cancer incidence between native born New Zealanders and the immigrant New Zealander.

The one exception was lung cancer. For all immigrants, the chances of dying of lung cancer were 30 per cent higher than for the native born. For immigrants who went to New Zealand when 30 years old or older, the chances were 75 per cent higher.

"Moreover", added Eastcott in his report to the technical journal, the Lancet, "it is the same for women as for men and is consistent at all ages over 35 and for all the principal parts of the country."

Health and Welfare

Further on it reads:

Eastcott was emphatic-for a statistician. "The conclusion follows that immigrants from Great Britain to New Zealand are affected by their former environment and that this effect is related to the length of exposure in that environment", he said. His findings were "in keeping with what is known of the mode of action of the carcinogens, cancer causing chemicals, isolated from the atmospheres of industrial cities."

There are many other articles from which I could quote but I do not want to take too much time. However, there is an editorial that appeared in the Globe and Mail of March 19, 1956. It refers to the committee on air pollution of the Ontario legislature and reads in part as follows:

The committee on air pollution of the Ontario legislature reports that smoke and smog in their various forms cost the people of this province about $120 million a year-which is as much as they are currently spending on highways. The difference is that in the one case they have greater convenience to show for it. In the other, all they have to show is a series of inconveniences running all the way from dry cleaning bills to-probably- lung cancer.

I have articles and editorials from the Brantford Expositor, the Peterborough Examiner and many others which I could quote but I think that is unnecessary. There can be no doubt now that diesel fumes are a contributory factor in causing lung cancer. I would venture to suggest that there may be some connection between the increased incidence of heart conditions and the increase of carbon monoxide in the air. Many people are concerned about this problem as evidenced by the number of articles and editorials appearing in the press. The situation will become more serious with the terrific increase in the number of motor vehicles. I want to express my appreciation at this time to some of those who have assisted, encouraged me, and supplied material.

They include Gypsum Lime and Alabas-tine, Canada, Limited, at Caledonia; Mr. Hulme of the Brantford Expositor; Dr. Morris Katz, chairman of the Canadian section of the technical advisory board on air pollution; and Dr. O. H. Warwick, executive director of the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

I am sure that all hon. members in this house will realize the danger of this condition and I trust they will support this resolution.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   PROPOSED REQUIREMENT OF DEVICE TO RENDER HARMLESS POISONOUS GASES EMITTED BY ENGINES
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, under

ordinary circumstances I would have waited until later on in the debate to participate but, for personal reasons, I must leave the house shortly. In view of the obvious relation between this motion and the Department of National Health and Welfare I thought that at this time I should say a few words as

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   PROPOSED REQUIREMENT OF DEVICE TO RENDER HARMLESS POISONOUS GASES EMITTED BY ENGINES
Permalink

S26 HOUSE OF COMMONS


Health and Welfare indeed I did last year. A careful perusal of the resolution in the form in which it is now presented by the hon. gentleman I think will indicate that my colleague the Minister of Justice will have an interest in the matter as the resolution has been amended this year to provide that there should be necessary amendments under the Criminal Code to provide penalties against owners or operators of all diesel powered vehicles or railway engines for failure to equip such vehicles with some suitable device to render harmless, poison gases emitted from the exhaust of such vehicles or engines. The Minister of Justice will deal with this aspect of the problem but I should like to deal with those aspects which are of special concern to the Department of National Health and Welfare. As I said last year, the resolution presented by the hon. gentleman serves to underline the increased attention which is now being given by health authorities to problems in the field of environmental health. As the hon. gentleman himself well knows, for many years now the Department of National Health and Welfare as well as provincial and local authorities have carried out measures to safeguard human health by ensuring the safety and purity of drinking water, foods, drugs and insecticides. As a matter of fact, the Food and Drugs Act is possibly the oldest continuing statute that comes under federal control and it deals with many aspects of the problems which have been included in the fields covered by the resolution presented by the hon. gentleman. As he himself has noted, more recently problems relating to the air we breathe have come under the surveillance of governments, both national and provincial and in some cases municipal; and in the case of the United States and Canada the matter has received some measure of international attention. Air pollution, of course, has been an inevitable accompaniment of industrialization and the growth of our large cities. My hon. friend made reference to the work of Dr. Warwick, formerly director of the Canadian cancer institute. I do not know that I would be justified in drawing the conclusions that he has drawn but I can say that under the national health program funds have been put at the disposal of the national cancer institute and, through it, to the various medical centres in Canada to undertake research in respect of the matters from which he has drawn such strong deductions. As he himself has pointed out, in the Detroit-Windsor area the Department of National Health and Welfare in co-operation with the Ontario department of health, the department of health of the city of Detroit and the board of health of the city of Windsor carried out one of the most extensive investigations into the relation between air pollution and human health ever undertaken anywhere. This was a study that lasted over a period of years. It represented pioneering efforts and the results of the study, which are now being carefully assessed, we trust will yield information of value to health departments everywhere. It may be that, as a result of the information which we acquire from this study that is now being undertaken in both countries, it will be possible for us to make certain assessments about the environment in which we live, particularly in industrial centres. The subject matter of the resolution introduced by my hon. friend, however, relates to one aspect of the over-all problem of air pollution-what I have been saying has been in reference to general aspects of the whole problem of pollution-and this problem, I may assure my hon. friend, as he well knows, is the matter of considerable study and attention by the officers of the occupational health division of the Department of National Health and Welfare, who, in conjunction with experts in several universities in Canada, have been giving careful and devoted attention to this matter. There is no doubt that the operation of diesel engines in certain situations, especially in mining operations, in tunnels and in more or less confined spaces, represents a danger to health. The control of this hazard in such cases is usually achieved by the installation, as I indicated last year, of adequate ventilation facilities. In stationary type engines the exhaust gases must be removed by piping into appropriate exhaust gas ventilators or ducts for disposal of such fumes. It is possible that the operation of such vehicles or engines in the open atmosphere may constitute a hazard to public health in the areas of dense traffic and population. My hon. friend will be interested in knowing, if he is not already aware of the fact-and I am sure he is-that at Harvard University, considerable studies are being carried out in this general field. This phase of the problem, in addition to what is being done at Harvard, is now, as I indicated last year, under intensive investigation in the Los Angeles area, and also by the automotive industry in both Canada and the United States. Last year I said it was under investigation only in the United States but since the matter was discussed here steps have been taken and the industry is now engaged in studies of this problem. The waste products of internal combustion engines include unburnt fuel or hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, aldehydes and oxides of nitrogen, as well as carbon, soot, tarry material and other products, including water vapour. I do not know whether my hon. friend mentioned water vapour but my technical officers advise me that that is the fact. I am further advised that the theory has been put forward in the Los Angeles area that smog is formed to a major degree by the interaction of such hydrocarbon waste products with oxides of nitrogen in the presence of oxygen and sunlight. Such chemical interactions of pollutants may be related to eye irritations and other health effects that have been observed, and some crop damage sustained in the Los Angeles area. My hon. friend, in this connection, spoke of cancer and I hesitate to speak too firmly on that aspect because conclusions will be drawn from what I say. However, researches that are being carried on carefully take into account the possibility, as was done in the case of other suggested provocations having to do with the alleged cause of lung cancer. It is known that in the immediate vicinity of diesel engine exhaust the concentration of aldehydes and oxides of nitrogen may be sufficient to produce considerable eye, nose and throat irritation; that is a known fact. The other is conjecture, and as my hon. friend nods, he will indicate that a conjecture is possibly more freely open to him than it is to me because of the technical advice which, as Minister of National Health and Welfare, I must act upon. But I do suggest it is important for us to realize that we can give false directions by drawing conclusions that may possibly be understandable but which, in the absence of control, it is best, certainly from my point of view, to leave to the research scientists. Various control methods to meet the problem which my hon. friend properly mentions have been suggested, and suggested for the reduction of the toxicity of the various gases from internal combustion engines. These include systems for treating exhaust gases, such as catalytic exhaust converters, which we discussed last year, after-burners, absorbers, condensers and filters. Likewise, other proposals concern systems which modify engine operating conditions such as manifold vacuum control, deceleration fuel cut off, ignition timing control and recycling of exhaust gases and fuel injection. I feel it is only right to point out that objectionable visible smoke and fumes may be reduced greatly by improved maintenance Health and Vfelfare practices and here the municipality and industry itself have an opportunity to make a contribution to this important problem, a problem that is becoming increasingly important with the number of large cities that are being created in this country and with the increase in population of the cities now in being. In this connection my hon. friend will be interested, as I know the house will be, that there is under way an investigation by the automotive industry itself covering such proposals as a change in the design of cylinder combustion chambers, carburetors, and intake manifolds. The research centres of at least two of the large automobile companies are making very serious efforts to deal with this particular problem in their own factories, and are pooling their research, their evidence and their conclusions, with the people in my own department and with others who are likewise engaged in these problems in Canada. It has been shown in both field and laboratory tests by the Los Angeles air pollution control district that approximately 7 per cent of all fuels used by automobiles are discharged unburnt into the atmosphere. Of course, this does constitute the greatest single source of hydrocarbon loss in that community, and I presume as well in other areas. The fact is that, notwithstanding the urgency, notwithstanding the importance of the problem, I am adviced by my officers that no success has yet been achieved in securing the development of a control device suitable for controlling the emission of exhaust gases from automobiles.


PC
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Yes. Now, in the case of diesel engines a limited amount of control has been achieved with the installation of exhaust gas absorbers which contain alkaline and other types of solution for the removal of aldehydes and oxides of nitrogen. Several companies in both this country and the United States, and 1 believe in the United Kingdom, are experimenting with what are called catalytic systems for more complete combustion of exhaust gases and also with various types of after-burners. But the fact is that this work is still in the experimental or developmental stage, and much more study and research will have to be continued before adequate means are available for the control of emissions from trucks, tractors, buses and other types of vehicles on highways and railways.

Apart from the abatement of smog and visible exhaust fumes by proper maintenance practices, the development of effective controls for exhaust gas and waste products is

Health and Welfare

contingent upon the success of studies now in progress. The air pollution study to which I directed the attention of the house a moment ago, I think, does serve as a pattern of what can be done, at least statistically to indicate the extent of this factor as a problem or as a causation in ill health. It may be that once the studies on the air pollution project have been completed, we will be in a better position to form certain deductions. But that remains to be seen. I have tried to hasten the conclusion of this study, but our scientists require that their work be done carefully. I have no doubt that when it is done it will prove to be a tremendous advantage, not only in a particular area but throughout the world.

I am not dealing with any of the legal aspects of this problem. These will be dealt with by the Minister of Justice. I would point out to my hon. friend, and I do this not because we are seeking to escape responsibility in a matter of this sort, because no one would want to take refuge behind the division of constitutional powers: if this is the way to do it and we have the power, well that is one thing. I assume that during the course of this discussion there will be some suggestion that this is the case. The Minister of Justice will have to deal with that aspect of the problem in the light of the division of powers provided under the British North America Act. Then, we will have to give consideration as to what is thought to be the most effective way of dealing with this problem, but I would not want to suggest that we are the only ones in Canada who are concerned in this problem.

On the research side I suppose, in terms of government and because of the special facilities we have in the Department of National Health and Welfare, we are perhaps well set up to give this proper attention. On the administrative side, however, it would be wrong for me to suggest that the only interested agency is the Department of National Health and Welfare. This problem is receiving careful consideration by the department of highways in Ontario, the government of Ontario and the Ontario legislature. My hon. friend will recall that the Ontario legislature set up a committee to deal with this very problem. I have had the opportunity of discussing this matter recently with that committee which I understand is about to make specific recommendations on this very matter to the Ontario legislature in current session. It may be that the information they will produce will prove to have a further clarifying and supporting value.

I should point out that since this resolution was discussed last year certain further steps

were taken in addition to those that had already been enumerated by me when I spoke on the motion which my hon. friend had put forward. Since that time our department has acquired from the international joint commission additional assistance in the form of the services of an expert in the field of air pollution to further intensify our study and efforts in this particular field. In addition to that, officials of the Department of National Health and Welfare have been given the opportunity of rendering, I think, rather important advisory assistance to the board of transport commissioners in the revision of existing regulations governing atmospheric pollution from railway steam and diesel locomotives under various operating conditions.

As I said a moment ago, since we discussed this matter last the Ontario legislature has acted by setting up a committee of its members to investigate this whole problem; but all of these developments, positive as they are in character and encouraging as they are on that account, nevertheless do not alter the basic fact that we have not yet found an effective way of dealing with gases emitted by diesel engines and other vehicles. In spite of that fact, as my hon. friend knows, the department has for long been interested in this problem; our interest is centred in the work of the occupational health division of the Department of National Health and Welfare which was set up in 1946 specifically for this and related purposes. Therefore I can assure my hon. friend and the house that in so far as our department can we shall continue to keep fully abreast of all the developments in a field which we must assume, generally speaking, in the absence of full proof, could have and probably does have, a very great effect on the levels of public health. As long as there are these possibilities it must remain the continuing concern of departments of health, national and provincial, of organizations like the world health organization, to look upon this as one of the subjects which must engage their most vigorous attention.

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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

Will the minister permit

one question? He says there is no way now of dealing with the diesels. How can he make that statement when it has been proven beyond any doubt that these diesel motors which are used under ground-it is true there is ventilation-with scrubbers have proved to be very satisfactory in taking from the fumes the harmful ingredients? That has been successful. Why cannot these same scrubbers be used above ground as well as under ground?

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

My hon. friend is assuming

the validity of the premise which he has established. There can be, of course, only one answer to that. If the premise is right then of course it must follow, but I make two points. First of all, it has not been accepted as a scientific fact. Second, if it were so, there is the question of the power of the federal government at the present time to deal with matters of that sort. I have purposely kept away from the latter so that the Minister of Justice could deal with the constitutional and legal aspects.

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PC

John Alpheus Charlton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Charlton:

The United States department of mines say it is accepted.

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Murdo William Martin

Mr. Marlin:

We had the same thing last

year.

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February 4, 1957