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Journal Article

Public Health in an Industrial Community: Port Kembla, 1907-2007

Glenn Mitchell
Health and History
Vol. 12, No. 2 (2010), pp. 39-56
DOI: 10.5401/healthhist.12.2.0039
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Page Count: 18
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Public Health in an Industrial Community: Port Kembla,
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Abstract This paper considers how various health agencies in New South Wales have responded to the issue of air pollution, particularly in Port Kembla since the end of World War II when levels rose dramatically and residents began calling for something to be done. Several shortcomings surrounding the production of the report of the NSW government-appointed Smoke Abatement Committee in the 1950s created the foundation for a tradition of inadequate research into the effects of industrial contamination on public health, and of legislation which sought to address environmental amenity rather than risks to public health. The reopening of a copper smelter in Port Kembla in 1997 demonstrated a continued policy to relegate the impacts on public health to a low priority consideration and is a damning refl ection on more than fifty years of inquiry.

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