The Environmental Health team at Metro North Public Health Unit work to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of individuals and the community by preventing illness and injury arising from environmental health hazards.
Our team is responsible for administering, monitoring, enforcing, and promoting compliance with the following public health legislation (and subordinate legislation):
- Food Act 2006
- Medicines and Poisons Act 2019
- Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021
- Medicines and Poisons (Pest Management Activities) Regulation 2021
- Medicines and Poisons (Poisons and Prohibited Substances) Regulation 2021
- Public Health Act 2005
- Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998
- Water Fluoridation Act 2008
- Radiation Safety Act 1999
Working collaboratively with our Medical Entomologist, Epidemiologists and Communicable Disease teams, the key services we deliver include:
- The monitoring, enforcement and promotion of Food Safety and Standards including the management of food borne illnesses outbreaks
- The provision of expert advice on water quality and safety, as well as the water risk management in healthcare facilities
- The monitoring and enforcement of tobacco legislation
- The safe, appropriate and effective management of medicines and poisons by authorised persons
- The protection of persons and the environment from harmful effects of sources of ionising and non-ionising radiation through the monitoring and enforcement of individuals and corporations with a radiation source possession licence
- The provision of advice and risk assessments of various Environmental Hazards
- The investigation of infection control breaches at declared health facilities
Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal found in the earths crust. Human exposure to lead usually occurs as a result of human activities, whether from industrial processes (for example lead smelting) or from the use of lead in cosmetics and ceramic cookware. Exposure to lead can affect almost every single organ and system in your body and at high levels can result in health effects, such as increased blood pressure and kidney problems. In children, even low levels can result in behavioural and learning difficulties. Pregnant women are also at particular risk, as lead can accumulate in the bones, which can be passed on to the developing foetus. This can result in serious health issues in the developing foetus and infant, including damaging the baby’s brain, kidneys and nervous system.
Elevated blood-lead is a notifiable condition in Queensland. Environmental Health Officers have a role in investigating non-occupational exposure to lead. Their primary role is to determine the cause of the lead exposure and provide guidance to reduce the risk of ongoing exposure. In Queensland, non-occupational exposure to lead can occur in people that visit shooting ranges (resulting from the lead which is released when firing rounds) and sanding external paint of older houses (paint used in houses built prior to the 1970s often contained lead).
The Metro North Public Health Unit may send questionnaires to those that have been identified with an elevated blood-lead level. If you have received this questionnaire, it is requested that you complete it, as it may assist in determining the cause of your elevated blood-lead level. Your treating doctor should also assist in establishing the cause of your lead exposure and provide guidance on how to reduce exposure.