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Air quality and human health

South Australian Urban Air Quality

Motor vehicles are a major cause of urban air pollution in South Australia, contributing most of the carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and benzene in the atmosphere.

Although our air quality is generally good, these air pollutants can have significant health impacts. Susceptible individuals such as children, the elderly and people with compromised health, are most at risk.

Common effects of air pollution include changes in heart and lung function with increases in associated medical conditions like asthma, bronchitis and heart disease.

Research suggests that health impacts related to reduced quality result in increased hospital admissions and premature deaths; it is estimated that, in Australia in the year 2000, between 900 and 2,000 early deaths were caused by motor vehicle air pollution.

A very recent study commissioned by the Australian Government's COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water (incorporating the National Environment Protection Council or NEPC) has further investigated the effect of air pollution on children's respiratory health.

In South Australia, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is responsible for monitoring our air quality, responding to poor air quality events and supporting national air quality initiatives.

You can obtain further information on air toxics, urban air quality and legislation that relate to these topics via the Australian Government's COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water website:

Air Toxics 

Urban Air Quality 

Diesel Vehicle Emissions