No such thing as safe air pollution

An additional 6,000 Australians will die annually of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases if air pollution levels rise to just below the government’s maximum daily limits, a pollution expert has calculated.

The government sets maximum National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM) for six air pollutants, but it would be wrong to consider them as thresholds below which there is no health risk, says Associate Professor Adrian Barnett of the Queensland University of Technology.

“I’ve found that increasing pollution levels to just below NEPM standards would cause the deaths of an extra 6,000