Effects of air pollution

Clean air is fundamental to our health and wellbeing.

An air pollutant is any substance in the air that can harm people or the environment. Air pollution is a health concern in Australia and around the world. It can be particularly critical to the health of children, older people, pregnant women and people with pre-existing health conditions. It affects the natural and built environment, and liveability of our communities.

Pollutants arise from natural processes like bushfires and from human activities, such as industrial and transport processes. Some, called 'secondary pollutants', form in the air when directly emitted (or primary) pollutants react with other substances or each other.

The common primary air pollutants are: particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). See further information on the known effects of these pollutants and what you need to do to limit your exposure to air pollution: