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Aamjiwnaang First Nation declares state of emergency over benzene levels


On Thursday, Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief Chris Plain declared a state of emergency, “…due to the ongoing and excessive discharge of the chemical compound benzene from INEOS Styrolution’s facility.”

Aamjiwnaang defined emergency as, “…a situation that by its nature affects the health, safety, welfare, and property of a community and requires a prompt, controlled, and coordinated response by one or more agencies.”

As previously reported by CTV News, a halt in production at INEOS Styrolution on Tashmoo Avenue in south Sarnia didn’t happen until several people fell ill and an order from the province was issued.

The provincial order given last Thursday gave the company one week to create a plan to address benzene levels.

Community member and environmental activist Ada Lockridge said benzene levels from INEOS were found to be 22 times higher than Ontario’s ambient air quality criteria.

On Monday, INEOS Styrolution provided a brief statement to CTV News, saying the health and safety of employees and the community is paramount, and that it’s shutting down temporarily to address a “mechanical issue.”

Aamjiwnaang First Nation said declaring this state of emergency will assist them in their preparedness and ensures adequate resources in the event further action is required.

The council said if you or your family is feeling unsafe, contact Ashley Jackson at 519-328-6653 for help finding other accommodations.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation said more information will be released as it becomes available.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation Chief Chris Plain declared a state of emergency on April 25, 2024, due to the high amounts of benzene found in Sarnia. (Source: Aamjiwnaang First Nation/Facebook) Top Stories

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