Doctors say national air quality standards are failing to protect health

National air quality reporting standards are failing to protect people's health argue DEA members, John Van der Kallen and Ben Ewald, after windy weather whipped up dust from local coal mines in the Hunter Valley last weekend resulting in air pollution for residents that breached regulations. Yet there are no significant consequences for the mining companies for violation of standards.

Newcastle Herald: Gloucester’s controversial Rocky Hill coal mine under the microscope

The proposed Rocky Hill open cut mine will have a major impact on the health of the local community with the mine simply too close to the township of Gloucester.

Transport Position Statement

Transport is an important part of a developed nation such as Australia, providing goods and services vital to health and the economy. The way in which transport is conducted in Australia is important to the health and well-being of all Australians. 

Media release: Doctors join AAA’s call for real world testing of cars

Doctors for the Environment Australia have welcomed the Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA) call for the introduction of a real world testing of cars, as the initiative would save thousands of lives.

Huffington Post: Cars Are The Problem, And The Solution, To Our Highest Emissions Level Ever

Australia’s annual emissions from energy use have increased to their highest-ever level according to the recent report by respected energy expert Hugh Saddler. This finding is disturbing, and points to a failure by government to address climate change across all sectors.

NSW EIA Improvement Project – 1: Overview of the EIA Improvement Project Submission

The rapid expansion of the coal and unconventional gas industries has not only created widespread community concern over health and environmental issues but it has exposed the inadequate processes whereby the New South Wales (NSW) government is acting as proponent in their perceived interest of economic development whereas they should be acting as arbiter.

Online Opinion: Air pollution-a silent killer we must urgently act on

Media reports last week that the government planned to introduce strict new fuel and vehicle efficiency standards starting in 2022, characterised as a “carbon tax on cars”, brought an emphatic denial from Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

Air Pollution Policy

Globally air pollution is an increasingly important public health problem. Nationally ambient (outdoor) air pollution contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality. Reductions in fossil fuel combustion to mitigate climate change have the potential to also benefit health by reducing concentrations of air pollutants which contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular disease and premature mortality.

Doctors deliver message to Commonwealth Bank chiefs: For health’s sake, don’t fund Adani’s coal mine

Doctors in stethoscopes and surgical masks will today deliver a letter highlighting the risks to health from the proposed Adani coal mine to the Commonwealth Bank’s Board of Directors in Sydney.

Media release: Doctors call for stricter pollution license fee system to protect health

Doctors for the Environment Australia calls for proper implementation of the pollution license fee system for NSW power stations to protect public health.

Time to end the debate and get on with it

We know that air pollution is responsible for 3000 preventable deaths a year. Dr John Van Der Kallen says as the solutions to our air pollution and climate chaos are obvious and available, it is now a matter of getting on with it.

Gizmodo OpEd: Cars Are Killing Us

About 3,000 Australians die prematurely each year from outdoor air pollution, and our cars are a major component of that pollution, particularly in traffic congested areas.

Media release: Traffic hot spots are making our children sick, warn doctors

Children living or attending schools close to major roads are exposed to more hazardous air pollution, warn health experts who are calling for sweeping laws to control vehicular emissions and so improve air quality.

Submission to the Better Fuel for Cleaner Air Discussion Paper

DEA welcomes the opportunity to respond to the discussion paper ‘Better Fuel for Cleaner Air’ and notes that the scope of the paper is limited to consideration of fuel quality standards while vehicle emission standards and fuel efficiency (greenhouse gas emissions per kilometre) are to be considered separately by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Media release: Time to clean up our air

The community is paying the cost of polluted air through health problems such as heart disease, lung disease and asthma – largely caused by coal mining and coal-fired power generation. Doctors have made a submission on the NSW Clean Air Plan to urge action to improve health.

Clean Air for NSW Consultation Paper Submission

We agree with the proposition that although NSW has relatively clean air by global standards, there is still a burden of disease attributable to air pollution and considerable health benefits available by improving air quality.

Review of the Load-based Licensing Scheme (NSW) submission

Coal-fired power stations (CFPS) are substantial sources of air pollutants.

The Conversation: Why coal-fired power stations need to shut on health grounds

The Senate inquiry’s report into the planned closure of coal-fired power stations will no doubt shed light on the compelling health reasons to close them.

Submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Economics

Doctors for the Environment Australia recommends that the present budget for ARENA be maintained as a preventative health measure.

Independent Australia: Doctors call for fossils fuels to be labelled an unacceptable health hazard

Dr. Graeme McLeay from Doctors for the Environment urges us to contact our energy ministers before this month’s COAG meeting and tell them fossil fuels undermine our national security, economy and health.

Article; Newcastle Herald: We need a regional air quality plan for the Hunter

The recent studies of air pollution in the Hunter finally show us the constituents of pollution and points to the likely sources. We agree with the editorial comment (Newcastle Herald, April 30) that it is extraordinary that the EPA seems to have leapt to the defence of the coal industry, because a close look at the results shows that coal mining, transport and burning is a major contributor to pollution.

Submission to the Ministerial Forum on the Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper

Vehicle emissions are a major public health issue with approximately 3,000 deaths per annum in Australia resulting from air pollution; a figure greater than total road accident deaths. A significant proportion of these deaths and the chronic illness of thousands more is caused by vehicular pollution.

Media release: Doctors alarmed at new air pollution data call for immediate action

Doctors are alarmed at the latest air pollution data which shows emissions of key pollutants linked to respiratory and heart diseases is continuing to grow, and warn that more Australians will die or suffer illness as a result.

Media release: Doctors call on the Andrews Government to act urgently on climate law recommendations

Doctors for the Environment Australia is urging the Victorian State Government to implement quickly and comprehensively the findings of the Independent Review Committee, which this week handed down its report on the Climate Change Act.

Submission on the SA Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016

The Global Burden of Disease report from WHO estimates that ambient air pollution is responsible for 3.7 million deaths worldwide (2012 estimate).

Media release: Doctors call on environment ministers to adopt strict air pollution laws

Doctors urge state and federal environment ministers not to cave in to pressure from the mining industry and support the adoption of strong national air pollution standards at Tuesday’s 15 December meeting.

Article; SMH: Volkswagen may have helped expose silent, invisible killer: outdoor air pollution

Along with denting its share price and reputation, Volkswagen may have inadvertently helped address one of the most neglected and insidious public health problems of our time.

Newcastle Herald: OPINION: Air pollution needs action

AIR quality has been a community concern in Newcastle for many years. When the results of  the first 12 months of air quality monitoring  became available from new monitors in Carrington and Stockton, it became clear that this region has some of the worst air quality in NSW.

Article; Newcastle Herald: Air pollution needs action

AIR quality has been a community concern in Newcastle for many years. When the results of  the first 12 months of air quality monitoring  became available from new monitors in Carrington and Stockton, it became clear that this region has some of the worst air quality in NSW.

SMH: Air pollution is like smoking a cigarette each day, doctors warn

Air pollution in Newcastle, NSW, is so bad that it is equivalent to smoking a cigarette a day, according to a group of doctors who have called on the state government to take immediate action to protect local residents, especially children, reports Natalie O’Brien in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Article; SMH: Air pollution is like smoking a cigarette each day, doctors warn

Air pollution in parts of NSW is so bad that it is equivalent to smoking a cigarette a day, according to a group of doctors who have called on the state government to take immediate action.

Canberra Times Opinion: Invisible killer – need for better air quality standards is urgent

In Australia there are 3000 deaths each year from air pollution, which is more than from traffic accidents. Imagine the nightly TV news – instead of the twisted car metal and bodies, they show a child fighting for breath from asthma being loaded into an ambulance in Bulga, or a patient with a heart attack in the Latrobe Valley.

Newcastle Herald Opinion: Planning for better air quality

THE evidence for harmful health effects from particulate air pollution has become stronger over the years, so periodic review of air quality regulations in keeping with current science is vital for the protection of human health.

Article; SMH: Invisible killer – need for better air quality standards is urgent

In Australia there are 3000 deaths each year from air pollution, which is more than from traffic accidents. Imagine the nightly TV news – instead of the twisted car metal and bodies, they show a child fighting for breath from asthma being loaded into an ambulance in Bulga, or a patient with a heart attack in the Latrobe Valley.

Medical Observer: Poor health link to poor air quality

WE FREQUENTLY see patients suffering from exacerbations of chronic cardiorespiratory conditions. Most of these exacerbations can be attributed to infectious agents or non-compliance with medical advice or medications.

Submission on the National Clean Air Agreement Discussion Paper 2015

Contamination of the air we breathe is a special case of environmental exposure. Although the individual risk from air pollution is very low, exposure is ubiquitous and across the entire population so the low individual risk multiplies to a large public health problem. The scientific understanding of these risks has developed greatly in the last ten years. Exposures that were previously thought to be insignificant are now recognised as damaging to health and the range of disease outcomes attributed to air pollution is expanding.

Submission on the proposed variation to the Ambient Air Quality NEPM 2014

DEA notes that the AAQ NEPM is not enforceable by the federal government, so even if it includes standards and goals that correctly reflect current scientific thinking on the health effects of air pollution it is not a strong mechanism for ensuring that the Australian population is protected from health impacts.

Coal is a major health issue like smoking

This issue has now had important exposure as a result of President Obama’s initiative on reducing coal pollution.

Report; Clearing the air, Why Australia urgently needs effective national air pollution laws

Effective regulation of air pollution is critical to ensuring Australians are safe from air pollution. Individuals cannot readily control the extent to which they are exposed to harmful air-borne pollutants. They need the law to protect them.

Clearing the air: the hidden wonders of indoor plants

The importance of indoor plants for improving air quality and contributing positively to our psychological wellbeing has implications for the health system both within hospitals and in the private system. The following article was first published at the Conversation and appears here under a Creative Commons licence.It is useful information for both our own occupational health and that of our staff and patients.

Submission to the Senate Committee on the impacts on health of air quality in Australia 2013

Doctors for the Environment Australia welcomes the opportunity to comment on the impacts on health of air quality in Australia, as this is an important public health issue to which inadequate attention has been paid to date.

Clear the air in coal versus health debate

DEA Editorial Comment; This article talks about DEA’s submission opposing this huge project. There seems to be inevitability about the approval of this project which is expected to impose more pollution on an already polluted city. An editorial in the Newcastle Herald on the same day indicates the economic and job opportunities provided. The conflict between these and health is discussed in the DEA article below.

Illness and Pollution at Port Augusta; Doctors Prescribe Solar Thermal Treatment

There is an important public health message for power producers and governments. It is no longer appropriate to harm people by burning air polluting fossil fuels when there are healthy alternatives.

The air you breathe can harm your health

The following article, by Dr George Crisp, first appeared in Medical Observer on 5th Sep 2011.  It appears below with the kind permission of Medical Observer.



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