Community can breathe easier now
THE Clean and Healthy Air for Gladstone Project (CHAG) Human Health Risk Assessment Report has been independently reviewed and scrutinized.
Independent reviewer Professor Brian Priestly, director of the Australian Centre for Human Health Risk Assessment at Monash University assisted with the report and the methodology.
“The report has been very well prepared and written in a way that looks at all the data objectively. The community expressed concerns about the air quality in Gladstone so this report has addressed those concerns, he said.
Prof Priestly said the pollutants measured were selected on the basis of what was normally present in ambient air around Australia and what was likely to be admitted here.
“In terms of taste and smell it is not unusual for pollutants to be discernable at levels well below those that produce any health effects,” he said.
“At the forefront of some concerns have been respiratory irritation and the ability to acerbate asthma and that can occur in some individuals who are sensitive at quite low levels.
“Although some of the substances that would be of concern to people are relatively toxic, they are present at levels well below anything that would be likely to cause a health affect.”
The Gladstone Industry Leadership Group (GILG) welcomed the release of the Clean and Healthy Air for Gladstone (CHAG) Health Risk Assessment.
GILG chairman, Glenn Schumacher said the report provided an independent and thorough evaluation of the air quality in the Gladstone region.
Results of Air Quality
The summary assessment of air quality, based on the results of the air-monitoring program supplemented by modelling on a smaller number of pollutants, is that the ambient air quality in the Gladstone area meets current health-based standards or guidelines.
The findings are consistent with what would be expected in an urban Australian airshed with an industrial base. The air is not pristine, nor can it be in an environment with a significant industrial base.
However, there are no stand-out health risks identifiable in the ambient air.
While the air quality is considered to meet guidelines or standards that are acceptable from a population-based perspective, it is possible that some people with particular susceptibilities, including asthma, may be affected by current air quality, at least on an intermittent basis.