Government assessment of Townsville dust report
In December 2014, the department sought advice from Queensland Health and the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation on the report by Professor Mark Taylor titled: “Atmospherically Deposited Metal and Metalloid Contaminated Dust in Inner Townsville, Queensland” which was commissioned by the North Queensland Conservation Council.
A Queensland Health assessment of the report concluded the data was not adequate to assess community exposure and undertake a health risk assessment. Queensland Health advised that a blood lead monitoring program was not warranted.
A Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) assessment concluded that the six days of sampling was insufficient to permit a valid comparison against the annual criteria mentioned in the report.
In addition to reviewing the report by Professor Taylor, Queensland Health and DSITI also considered the data from the Queensland Government’s ongoing air quality monitoring program, which includes a number of locations in the Townsville area. This has highlighted that although the air quality in Townsville has generally complied with the Environmental Protection (Air) Policy 2008 (EPP (Air)) air quality objectives since monitoring began in 2008, there is an increasing trend in the levels of lead in the air and dust in close proximity to the Port of Townsville.
The department will continue to work closely with the Port to address the community’s concerns and closely monitor progress in addressing this important issue for Townsville.
The Queensland Government has an ongoing air quality monitoring program, which includes a number of locations in the Townsville area.
Access the latest air quality data.
Townsville Dust Monitoring Program
The Townsville Dust Monitoring Program was implemented by the department in March 2008 to obtain information on the levels of particles and heavy metals in the community surrounding the Townsville Port, following ongoing community concerns about dust impacts from Townsville Port operations.