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Lead concentrations

Key finding

Routine monitoring of lead in air is no longer undertaken in South East Queensland due to the low ambient concentrations following removal of lead in petrol. Lead monitoring results from Mount Isa and Townsville show that lead levels are below the National Environmental Protection Measures (NEPM) Air Quality Standard.

Historically motor vehicles that used leaded fuel accounted for almost all the airborne lead in Queensland’s urban areas. A reduction in the lead content of leaded petrol in the 1990s and a complete phase-out of leaded petrol in 2002 resulted in lead levels in South East Queensland (SEQ) falling so dramatically that routine monitoring of lead ceased in December 2013.

Monitoring of lead levels continues in Mount Isa where the mining and smelting of mineral ores takes place and in Townsville where mineral concentrates are exported and imported through the Port of Townsville. In neither area does the level of lead exceed the National Environmental Protection Measures (NEPM) Air Quality Standard. Lead concentrations In Mount Isa and Townsville are trending down because of improved emissions control actions taken by industry.

More information:

Indicator: Trends in average lead concentrations

Trends in annual average lead concentrations by monitoring site for 1980-2017.

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 12 February 2020