Sections

Services

Information

AU Australia

Environmental health

Analysis and Comment (24)

Children are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of lead because their brains and bodies are still developing. Children are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of lead because their brains and bodies are still developing. Viacheslav Nikolaenko/Shutterstock

Toxic playgrounds: Broken Hill kids exposed to poisonous dust

In the shadows of Broken Hill’s rich mining history lies a legacy of contamination and regulatory failure that will likely outlive any benefits locals derive from mining. One in five children aged under…
Tut tut: Belgian cyclist Dries Devenyns throws his bottle during the 10th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Tut tut: Belgian cyclist Dries Devenyns throws his bottle during the 10th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. EPA/Nicolas Bouvy

The Tour de France – race of beauty or environmental hazard?

It’s that time of year again. The 101st Tour de France begins this Saturday July 5 in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, and three days later it returns to French home soil for Stage 4 (Le Touquet-Paris-Plage…
A report criticising government oversight of a major Gladstone harbour dredging project has warned against cutting resources for environmental monitoring and compliance. A report criticising government oversight of a major Gladstone harbour dredging project has warned against cutting resources for environmental monitoring and compliance. Flickr/GreensMPs

Environmental job cuts risk a repeat of Gladstone failures

A long-awaited report on environmental failures at the biggest port along the Great Barrier Reef coastline and today’s federal budget may not seem connected – but if you read the report, it’s clear just…
Four out of five Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast – but expanding cities are taking a toll on our environment. Four out of five Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast – but expanding cities are taking a toll on our environment. Paul Boyce/Flickr

The state of Australia: our environment

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
Mount Isa exceeded the national one-hour standard for sulfur dioxide emissions 49 times in 2012. Mount Isa exceeded the national one-hour standard for sulfur dioxide emissions 49 times in 2012. Zurbagan/Shutterstock

Reducing the harms of toxic air in mining and smelting communities

Children in the mining towns of Mount Isa in Queensland and Port Pirie in South Australia are exposed to harmful levels of pollutants that increase their risk of learning and developmental disorders, and…
The South Australian town of Port Pirie – home to a historic smelter – has some of the worst reported toxic air pollution in Australia. The South Australian town of Port Pirie – home to a historic smelter – has some of the worst reported toxic air pollution in Australia. Photo by Imre Hillenbrand www.universalfocus.com.au

Australia’s dirty secret: who’s breathing toxic air?

Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed to…
Amphipods on anti-depressants found their lives brightened, right up until they were eaten. Amphipods on anti-depressants found their lives brightened, right up until they were eaten. Arnold Paul

Prozac alters prawns’ behaviour, reproduction and even their colour

The idea that tiny amounts of antidepressants present in our rivers and estuaries may be affecting aquatic life is generally met with surprise, sometimes scepticism, or even a degree of humour. The public…
The largest impacts will occur in poorer and vulnerable populations. The largest impacts will occur in poorer and vulnerable populations. 'Collecting water' by UNAMID

Climate change and health: IPCC reports emerging risks, emerging consensus

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Impacts volume of the Fifth Assessment Report will be released today. Here, three contributors to the health chapter explain the ideas and evidence…
Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

China can’t smother growing public demands to clear the air

Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse…
Heat represents a classic public health issue requiring committed government action to prevent deaths. Heat represents a classic public health issue requiring committed government action to prevent deaths. Flickr/kittykatfish

How can we avoid future ‘epidemics’ of heat deaths?

Heatwaves are returning to southern parts of Australia. Temperatures in Hobart reached 38.7C on Monday, Adelaide has another run of 40C-plus days looming, and Melbourne is facing a weekend high of 41C…
Working hard at keeping healthy. Working hard at keeping healthy. Katie Collins/PA

Stress-busting effect of green spaces stronger on women

A new study sheds light on why natural spaces in cities can help keep us healthy. Researchers found that people living in neighbourhoods with a large amount of green space, such as parks or playing fields…
Electron scanning microscope photo of Mycobacterium bovis bacteria. Electron scanning microscope photo of Mycobacterium bovis bacteria. CDC

Badger cull: why we must keep a close eye on animal health

Britain’s badgers stand on the brink of being shot, gassed or even forcibly fed oral contraceptives, all in the name of fighting the spread of tuberculosis in cattle. But what dangers does bovine TB (as…
What is coming out of our tailpipes that we can’t see? What is coming out of our tailpipes that we can’t see? Lewis Whyld/PA

Explainer: nanoparticles in air pollution

Hearing the words “airborne nanoparticles” for the first time, one would probably ask: just how tiny are they, where do they come from, and do we need to worry about them? These tiny particles between…
We still don’t know what impact the chemicals used to extract coal seam gas have on our health. We still don’t know what impact the chemicals used to extract coal seam gas have on our health. Greens MPs

We need to do our homework on the health risks of coal seam gas

Last night’s ABC Four Corners program, Gas Leak!, highlighted worrying flaws in the approval and monitoring processes for coal seam gas (CSG) developments of state governments in Queensland and New South…
Heavy smog is descending on Beijing again, a week after record air pollution choked China’s capital and much of northern China. Heavy smog is descending on Beijing again, a week after record air pollution choked China’s capital and much of northern China. AAP/EPA/Adrian Bradshaw

Deadly air: the smog shrouding China’s future

Beijing has been smothered by a dense and dangerous smog this month, which has set new air pollution records over several days. The World Health Organization advises that the acceptable level of fine particles…
Governments don’t seem to take seriously the health effects of coal mining. Governments don’t seem to take seriously the health effects of coal mining. Ian Sanderson

Moylan’s anti-coal message is an international one

Anti-coal protester Jonathan Moylan has said the main reason for his ANZ sharemarket hoax was his concern about the health impacts of coal mining at Maules Creek. He stressed the impact of the mine on…
The currently accepted blood lead goal – 10 micrograms per decilitre – needs updating. The currently accepted blood lead goal – 10 micrograms per decilitre – needs updating. Tony Bibbs

Time to rethink blood lead goals to reduce risk to children’s health

Lead exposure continues to be an important public health issue for Australian children, with as many as 100,000 children under five years of age estimated to have blood lead levels high enough to cause…
It’s normal to have recurring waves of grief after the loss of a loved one but prolonged, severe grief requires treatment. It’s normal to have recurring waves of grief after the loss of a loved one but prolonged, severe grief requires treatment. white ribbons

Why prolonged grief should be listed as a mental disorder

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition. Grief is one of the most universal…
Serious, interconnected risks are closing in on the globalised community, from climate change to anarchy. Are we heeding the warnings? Serious, interconnected risks are closing in on the globalised community, from climate change to anarchy. Are we heeding the warnings? AAP/EPA/Daniel Deme

Highway to dystopia: time to wise up to the looming risks

In that world of peripheral vision, essential for business, social and political leaders, it is surprising that the World Economic Forum’s report, Global Risks 2012 has not received greater publicity or…
Researchers aren’t sure whether a relatively common environmental chemical compromises our immune response to vaccines. Researchers aren’t sure whether a relatively common environmental chemical compromises our immune response to vaccines. Chris RubberDragon

Is your health at risk from fish and frying pans?

Will our desire for seafood and non-stick frying pans compromise the effectiveness of vaccines intended to protect us from nasty diseases? Research published today in the Journal of the American Medical…
A White Shark feeds on a whale carcass off a Perth metropolitan beach in 2009. This was happening before Homo Sapiens existed. A White Shark feeds on a whale carcass off a Perth metropolitan beach in 2009. This was happening before Homo Sapiens existed. AAP/Channel10

Sharks in the city: Getting to know the neighbours

The vast majority of Australians live in coastal cities. This means most of us have sharks as neighbours. Living alongside sharks in metropolitan cities in Australia requires urban resilience. Unlike birds…
Environmental health practitioners can tighten up waste management, but they cannot predict how each individual attendee will treat the grounds. Environmental health practitioners can tighten up waste management, but they cannot predict how each individual attendee will treat the grounds. Christian Haugen

Take the festy out of music festivals this summer

Summer is the season for all kinds of lovely outdoor activities, not the least of which is a spate of music festivals, which kicks off tomorrow with Victoria’s Meredith Music Festival. But there’s a dark…

Research and News (2)

Research Briefs (3)