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
Regional Air Quality (continued)
Benzene across regional airsheds [A Indicator 4.9]
Benzene is a known human carcinogen: long-term exposure can cause cancer. Benzene is emitted from evaporation and combustion of liquid and solid fuels, some industrial processes and cigarette smoking. Some data on benzene in regional Australia are available (e.g. Table 35 shows monitoring results from EPA New South Wales for the Illawarra region in 1996, and Figure 157 presents data from sampling every six days at three locations around the Port Kembla BHP steel works). The measured concentrations are well below international urban levels (e.g. monitoring in Sydney indicates an annual average of 2.3 ppb (EPAN 1997)). They are also well below the year 2003 standard for UK (5 ppb annual average), the proposed European Union value of 1.5 ppb (annual average) and the proposed one-hour design criterion of 11 ppb for Victoria (EPAV 2000).
|Benzene levels (ppb)|
|Mean level||Range||s.d.||No. of samples|
|Corrimal coke works||0.46||- A||-||9|
|Sydney Central Business District||2.3||1.0-4.2||0.77||41|
A Rules indicate that no data are available.
Source: EPAN (1997).
Figure 157: Monitoring of benzene around BHP steel works, Port Kembla, during 1999.
The data represent spot samples taken every six days (nominal).
Source: BHP Port Kembla
There is inadequate information to draw conclusions about benzene in most regional airsheds. However, concentrations are likely to be low by comparison with urban Australia. As more stringent evaporative controls on emissions from fuel depots and motor vehicles take hold, the levels are likely to decline further.
Toxic dosage of air pollutants [A Indicator 4.11]
As yet there is no information available on this Indicator for regional Australia other than that developed for the Air NEPM and presented in Urban air quality.