Invited Speaker Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia 2021

What else is out there? Building our understanding to protect the environment and the health of our communities  (#122)

Carolyn Brumley 1
  1. Environment Protection Authority, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria’s role is to protect the environment and people by preventing and reducing harm from pollution and waste.  Much of EPA’s work over the past 50 years has gone into understanding, managing and limiting point sources of pollution and waste to the environment.  This has been done through regulatory actions such as licences, and end of pipe monitoring programs on relatively well-known chemical and microbiological hazards.  Actions such as these have successfully affected elements of change in industrial processes, leading to environmental improvements.  Challenges remain for environmental pollution that is diffuse and broad-scale, and that exists across multiple environmental matrices.  This includes emerging and poorly understood chemicals, physical hazards, and microorganisms and their genes.  New approaches are needed to measure, understand, and limit the exposure of the environment and the community to this type of pollution.

In this presentation I will discuss how EPA Victoria has used horizon scanning and detailed assessment to identify and rank hazards associated with environmental pollution in the areas of human health, environment, and amenity.  EPA has used this process to support the development of research and monitoring programs to further the understanding of risks posed by the highest ranked hazards.  I will present three areas of research that are emerging issues for the environment and human health:  (1) microplastics, (2) animal effluent and (3) emerging contaminants. Driving this work is the new preventative-focused environment protection legislation that gives everyone in Victoria, from businesses to academia, a role to play in protecting our environment.