This section includes a brief description of the most common air pollutants, their possible health effects from exposure, and how to limit or avoid exposure. The common air pollutants are:
Further information on what you can do to limit your exposure to air pollution check our webpage about the Air Quality Index (AQI). For the current Air Quality Index values, visit the webpage from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Air toxics are another group of air pollutants that are typically present in low concentrations in the air but have toxic characteristics that may result in health effects from exposure even at low levels. Sources of air toxics included motor vehicle exhaust and some commercial and industrial processes.
In 2004, the National Environment Protection Council made the National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure which addresses the five priority air toxics: benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, xylenes and benzo (a) pyrene (as a marker for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). The goal of the Measure is to improve the information base regarding ambient air toxics within the Australian environment in order to facilitate the development of standards.
For more information on air toxics measurements in NSW, visit the webpage from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
For more information on the National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure, visit the Department of Environment and Energy.