Quantification of atmospheric lead emissions from 70 years of leaded petrol consumption in Australia

Louise Jane Kristensen

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    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Lead is a persistent pollutant and the subject of many environmental studies, yet, in Australia, the extent of atmospheric lead emissions from the use of leaded petrol is unquantified. This paper details the first comprehensive account of leaded petrol sales and its lead concentrations over the 70 years of use in Australia. The resulting atmospheric lead emissions are calculated to provide the most complete understanding of the volume of lead released to the Australian continent from the consumption of leaded petrol. Atmospheric emissions of lead to the entire Australian continent from leaded petrol are calculated to total 240,510 tonnes over seven decades of use, peaking at 7869 tonnes in 1974. Total emissions for individual states and territories range from 1745 to 67,893 tonnes, with New South Wales responsible for the largest emissions. The effect of regulations on allowable concentrations of tetraethyl-lead additives are observed in the reduction of lead emissions in New South Wales and Victoria. The consequences to human health and the environment of leaded petrol consumption in Australia's populous cities are examined against historical air quality data and blood lead levels.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-201
    Number of pages7
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


    • Air quality
    • Australia
    • Emission inventory
    • Leaded petrol


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