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Air Toxic Pollutants

Air toxics are pollutants that can be present in the atmosphere in low concentrations and are known or suspected to cause serious health or environmental problems. Information about the sources and health effects of air toxics is available at the National Environment Protection Council web site. There are five compounds used as indicators of toxic air pollutants in Australia: benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, Xylenes and benzo(a)pyrene (as an indicator for PAH). These compounds are included in the Tasmanian Air Toxics Monitoring Program which commenced in 2008.

A general description of air toxics is available on the Air Quality Education Resources web page.

Air Toxics Monitoring in Tasmania

Tasmania has implemented a state-wide air quality monitoring program which expands the information base to assist in evaluating the State's air quality and monitoring trends. The program includes upgrading the present monitoring program to meet the requirements of the Air Toxics NEPM.

The monitoring program for air toxics is a primary objective of the Tasmanian Air Quality Strategy. A detailed program has been planned that identifies 16 locations for air toxics monitoring. Monitoring at five of these sites commenced in 2008 and 2009 for screening purposes and to assess requirements for on-going monitoring. The program expanded in 2010 with air toxics monitoring at six locations: Ti Tree Bend, South Launceston, Glenorchy, Warrane, Hobart (Cleary's Gates), New Norfolk and Rowella (2008/09 only).

Preliminary results indicate seasonal variations with higher levels in winter coinciding with increased usage of domestic wood heaters. Results indicate that the NEPM Monitoring Investigation Levels are unlikely to be exceeded at the sites monitored.

Using the links below you can access the latest information on air toxics in Tasmania.

Summarises the monitoring program and includes initial results for 5 sites.

Note that the 2008-2009 Monitoring Report was updated and replaced with this revised document on 1 November 2011.

Summarises the air toxics monitoring program for 2010

Summarises the air toxics monitoring program for 2011

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Other Useful Links

  • Air Toxics Health Reports

  • Information previously available on the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) website (www.ephc.gov.au) is now listed in this archive. These pages are no longer being maintained or updated but remain as an archive for your information.

    Information available on the archive includes health reviews for Benzene, Toluene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and Xylenes. Note these documents date from May 2003 and some information contained in them may no longer be current.

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    Air Specialist
    134 Macquarie Street
    Hobart TAS 7000
    Phone: 03 6165 4599 Fax: 03 6173 0254
    Email: EnvironmentEnquiries@environment.tas.gov.au