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When leaks affect an Indigenous community, Canada requests that chemical facilities monitor their pollutant levels.

Following the leak of benzene from a facility that prompted a First Nation community to declare a state of emergency, Canada on Friday ordered several petrochemical factories in Ontario to implement stringent safeguards to minimize pollution from this carcinogenic chemical.

The directive was sent to the Sarnia, Ontario, petrochemical industry by Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault. Sarnia is located less than 300 km (186 miles) west of Toronto.

Due to a chemical leak from the German business INEOS Styrolution’s (STYE.NS) new tab plastic manufacturing plant, which resulted in at least ten hospital visits, Aamjiwnaang First Nation announced a state of emergency last month.

Guilbeault issued a statement saying, “It is just not acceptable that the residents of Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang First Nation continue to have problems with poor air quality.

“Indigenous peoples have a right to a healthy environment and too often are impacted by polluting industries.”

The 1,000 residents of Aamjiwnaang First Nation live surrounded by industrial areas. The privately held INEOS Group (INEOSE.UL), which owns the Frankfurt-based company, closed its doors on April 20.

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