Atmosphere Theme Report

Australia State of the Environment Report 2001 (Theme Report)
Lead Author: Dr Peter Manins, Environmental Consulting and Research Unit, CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Authors
Published by CSIRO on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001
ISBN 0 643 06746 9

Urban Air Quality (continued)

Indicators of the condition of air quality (continued)

Lead in urban areas [A Indicator 3.3]

  • Implications
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    With the mandatory introduction of unleaded petrol for new vehicles in 1986, lead concentrations in Australian cities have declined markedly. Today, there are no exceedences of the NEPM Standard (0.50 g/m3 for the annual average) in any Australian capital city. In those urban locations around Australia that had high lead concentrations in the early 1980s (Figure 98), the concentrations have reduced by a factor of ten.

    Figure 98: Trends in airborne lead levels at Australian monitoring sites, 1985 to 1999.
    The value of the maximum reading is shown for each series.

     Trends in airborne lead levels at Australian monitoring sites, 1985 to 1999

    Source: State environment authorities

    There are several other Australian locations where there are lead smelters, foundries, scrap metal recovery or lead-acid battery manufacture that may produce pronounced lead emissions (see Regional air quality).

    Implications

    Lead in air is no longer an issue in metropolitan Australia.