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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1130..


(Question No 94)

Ms Tucker asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 20 February 2002:

In relation to the burnout events at the Summernats:

(1) How toxic or harmful is burnout smoke.

(2) What is the (a) volume and (b) frequency of burnout smoke which spectators are exposed to over the three days at Summernats.

(3) What risk does this smoke pose to children and people with respiratory problems, (a) attending the event and (b) in the nearest residences to the event.

(4) Have there been any indications, from facilities such as first aid stations or ambulance staff at Summernats, that medical treatment to persons has been required as a result of exposure to the smoke.

(5) Has the ACT Government done its own health assessment of the burnout events.

(6) Has the ACT Government consulted expert literature or sources, to the extent that they exist, on the health impacts of burnout smoke.

(7) Has the ACT Government considered whether they are jeopardising the health of spectators and nearby residents through exposure to burnout smoke.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member's question is:

1. How toxic or harmful is burnout smoke.

A search of environmental and medical literature has revealed no specific information on this specific issue. Nevertheless, like any smoke, exposure may cause airway irritations in some people.

Sources checked include the State of Knowledge Report: Air Toxins and Indoor Air Quality in Australia 2001 (Environment Australia), Dangerous Properties of Industrial Material 9th Ed. 1998 (Sax, I. and Lewis, R.) and Medline. In addition to this the ACT Fire Brigade, ACT Workcover, Environment ACT, Poisons Information, and NSW Health were all consulted.

2. What is the (a) volume and (b) frequency of burnout smoke which spectators are exposed to over the three days at Summernats.

The organisers of the Summernats have confirmed that there were 70 cars competing on the first day (Friday) and at least the same number on the final day (Sunday). The Burnout competition was not held on the Saturday.

It is not possible to estimate the volume and frequency of burnout smoke, as they were not measured. The volume and frequency are also highly dependable on factors such as engine size of the cars, the tyres fitted to the cars, the drivers' skill and wind direction.

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