01/15/2014 11:00 EST | Updated 03/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Air quality: How gridlock is affecting west Toronto's air

The gridlock on Toronto highways is bad for your health, and not just because of the stress is causes when you're stuck in traffic. 

New data released Wednesday night revealed just how damaging the city’s gridlock can be in terms of pollution to certain Toronto neighbourhoods.

Researchers from the city focused on south Etobicoke, finding five toxic pollutants, including benzene, exceed air quality standards.

“They get into your lungs, into your blood and they are bad for cardiovascular and respiratory illness — it’s serious because it doesn’t come out again,” said Christopher Morgan with the Environment and Energy division.

The maps (in the gallery above) illustrate Etobicoke’s levels of carcinogens. One of the areas coated in blue, showing an incredibly high level of pollution, is the QEW and 427 highways.

“This almost exclusively all comes from our highways and the level of intensity relates to the volume of traffic on the road and the percentage of trucks.   

Many residents believe this is more proof that the city needs a better transit system to curb the excessive use of cars.

The images in the gallery are display boards that will by used at Thursday's meeting, summarizing the findings from the local air quality study and the cumulative health assessment.