EPA is coordinating the review of the national air quality standards. The National Environment Protection Act 1994 established the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (AAQ NEPM) in 1998. It provides an approach to measuring six common pollutants the same way across Australia. The pollutants are: 

  • carbon monoxide 
  • lead 
  • nitrogen dioxide 
  • photochemical oxidants (ozone) 
  • sulfur dioxide 
  • particles (PM10 and PM2.5). 

The AAQ NEPM sets air quality standards and goals for each of these pollutants. 

Victoria is leading the review of standards set for ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The review takes into account evidence of the health effects of these pollutants. 

Health effects of ozone, nitrogen, dioxide and sulfur dioxide

You are exposed to these pollutants in the air you breathe. They can affect:

  • your respiratory system. This is the parts of your body you breathe with, including your lungs.  
  • your cardiovascular system. This includes your heart and blood vessels.

People most at risk from these pollutants are: 

  • the elderly 
  • people with lung disease 
  • children. 

NEPM standards review infographic

See the review’s supporting documents

 The National Environment Protection Council released a draft AAQ NEPM and supporting technical documents for consultation. The consultation has now closed.

National Clean Air Agreement

Environment ministers endorsed the National Clean Air Agreement (the agreement) in 2015. The 2018-2020 work plan under the agreement includes the work we are doing to review the national air quality standards.

2013 Senate Committee inquiry on health impacts of air quality

On 28 November 2012 the Australian Senate referred the matter of impacts on health of air quality in Australia to the Senate Community Affairs Committees for inquiry and report. EPA made a submission to the inquiry.

Reviewed 17 September 2020