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absorption: the solution of one component of a gaseous mixture into a liquid, or the penetration of a gas or liquid into a porous solid.
acid gas: a gas which, when dissolved in water, forms an acid. For example: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
acid rain: precipitation, whether rain or snow, where the water has an acidity greater than normal (effectively a pH of less than 5.7). It derives from interaction of water vapour in air with sulfur and nitrogen oxides formed by combustion of fossil fuels.
acute exposure: exposure to a chemical for a short period of time, relative to the organisms life span. For example, 14 days or less for humans. cf Chronic exposure.
adsorption: adherence of the atoms, ions, or molecules of a gas or liquid to the surface of another substance (the adsorbent), which is usually a solid. Adsorption is distinguished from absorption in that the process of adsorption involves chemical and/or physical forces, while for absorption, solution in a liquid or simple penetration into the pores of a solid occur. Treatment of a gas or solution with activated charcoal or silica gel involves adsorption, because of the chemical and/or physical forces involved.
aerobic digestion: a biological conversion process in which micro-organisms respire oxygen to digest/decompose biodegradable organic compounds.
aerosol: a dispersion of very small solid or liquid particles in a gas. Examples are smoke and fog.
aggregated emissions data (AED): estimates of the amount of a substance emitted to the environment annually from: (a) facilities which are not reporting facilities; and (b) anthropogenic sources other than facilities, which emit a significant amount of that substance to the environment.
aggregated transfer data: estimates of the amount of a substance transferred annually from: (a) facilities which are not reporting facilities; and (b) anthropogenic sources other than facilities, which transfer a significant amount of that substance to the environment
agri-industrial: the integrated operation of agricultural and industrial activities.
air quality: the condition of the air we breathe
airshed: region (for example, capital city) for which a government agency has estimated pollutant emissions to air for various non-reporting facility sources such as motor vehicles.
algae: primitive, non-vascular water plants consisting of a single cell or aggregation of cells. All are relatively simple photosynthetic organisms with unicellular reproductive structures. Algae occur in both marine and fresh water, while some are terrestrial, living in damp situations on walls, trees, etc.
algal blooms: the occurrence of a very high population of algae in a water body.
alkanes: chemical classification relating to the structure of hydrocarbons: alkanes have carbon atoms arranged in chains and contain no double or triple bonds.
alkenes: chemical classification relating to the structure of hydrocarbons: alkenes have carbon atoms arranged in chains and contain one or more double bonds.
alkyl: chemical classification of hydrocarbon groups attached to compounds: alkyl groups have carbon atoms arranged in chains and contain no double or triple bonds.
alkynes: chemical classification relating to the structure of hydrocarbons: alkynes have carbon atoms arranged in chains and contain one or more triple bonds.
alum: (K2SO4. Al2 (SO4)3.24H2O) potassium aluminium sulfate.
ambient air: the surrounding air.
ambient: refers to environmental conditions in the surrounding air or water, and not to conditions associated with an emission(s) or discharge(s).
amines: compounds formed when the hydrogen atoms of ammonia (NH3)are replaced by organic groups (R).
anaerobic digestion: a biological conversion process performed by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen to digest/decompose biodegradable organic compounds.
anaerobic: environmental conditions without the presence of oxygen; conditions with oxygen are called 'aerobic'
annual average: an average concentration calculated from results over a one year period; the concentration at any time could be higher or lower than the annual average
anthropogenic: made by humans or resulting from human activities
anticarcinogen: a substance or agent which acts to inhibit carcinogenesis. Various antioxidants, present in some foods, by preventing oxidative disruption and mutation of genes, act to inhibit the initiation of cancers and thus are anticarcinogens.
ANZSIC: Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
aquifer: a bed, rock formation or other geological structure within the upper layer of the Earth's crust containing sufficient voids to allow the storage and flow of ground water. It is connected by permeable strata or source of ground water recharge.
area-based source: a collection of a large number of emission points which are either too small or too numerous to identify as individual point sources in an emissions inventory; included as 'other sources' in this database.
aromatics (arenes): organic compounds that contain a benzene ring or have chemical properties similar to benzene.
arteriosclerosis: thickening of the walls of the small arteries with loss of elasticity and contractibility.
article: a manufactured item formed to a specific shape or design during manufacture
aryl: chemical classification of hydrocarbon groups attached to compounds: aryl groups have carbon atoms arranged in aromatic rings.
assimilative capacity: capacity of a water body to receive, dilute, and carry away wastes without harming water quality; in the case of organic matter, also includes the capacity for natural biological oxidation, which may be expressed in kilograms per day at a specific river flow rate and temperature.
background or baseline concentrations: those concentrations of substances in the environment that are due to natural sources. Usually these need to be determined before a source of anthropogenic pollutants is introduced into the environment in question. This may only be practicable in a nearly pristine environment, as was done in the East Alligator River prior to the Ranger uranium mine project.
bacteria: a class of extremely small single-celled micro-organisms.
benzene (C6H6): a colourless, liquid hydrocarbon. The molecular structure is that of6 carbon atoms joined in a hexagonal ring. It is the simplest aromatic compound.
bioaccumulate: to accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals to a concentration higher than that of the surrounding environment.
bioavailability: a measure of the extent to which a substance is able to be absorbed by living organisms.
biochemical oxygen demand (BOD): the amount of oxygen required during the decomposition of organic matter by aerobic microbiological action. A water body polluted by biologically degradable organic matter, loses some or all of its dissolved oxygen by the respiratory oxygen demand of the microorganisms consuming the organic matter. BOD5 (i.e. 5 days of BOD at 20°C) is a common measure of biodegradable pollution in water.
bioconcentrate: to become more concentrated in the tissues of plants and animals than in the surrounding environment.
biodegradable: able to be broken down into basic compounds by micro-organisms.
biogenic emissions: emissions from natural sources including vegetation and soil.
biomagnification: the existence of a substance at successively higher concentrations with increasing trophic levels in ecosystem food chains. cf. bioconcentration
biomass: the total mass of living organisms present in an area, ecosystem, environment or in a category of organisms.
biophysical: refers to biological phenomena interpreted in terms of physical principles.
biosphere: the part of the planet and its atmosphere inhabited by living organisms.
biota: the flora and fauna.
bitumen: a general name for various solid and semisolid hydrocarbons produced from petroleum residues.
body burden: the total amount of a specific substance (e.g., lead) in an organism, including the amount stored and the amount absorbed. Usually refers to the pollutant load or burden in a human being.
bronchospasm: abnormal narrowing of the airways leading to the lung caused by spasm in the surrounding muscle.
business entity: has the meaning given by the term entity in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 which defines entity as follows:
(a) an individual; (b) a body corporate; (c) a corporation sole; (d) a body politic; (e) a partnership; (f) any other unincorporated association or body of persons; (g) a trust; (h) a superannuation fund.
butane (C4H10): the fourth member of the paraffin series of hydrocarbons, is gaseous at atmospheric pressure. It is extracted from natural gas or formed during petroleum refining operations. With or without propane, it is a principal component of LPG.
by-products: secondary products, possibly of commercial value, which are obtained from the chemical or physical processing of material. "By-product" was a term used for a residual from processing, which being of no apparent usefulness at the time, became a waste and pollutant. The term was used to refer to a single component or mixture of residuals/pollutants prior to adoption of these terms.
cancer: a malignant tumour which can spread throughout the body. As distinct from a benign tumour, which cannot. (Although leukaemia and some other malignant diseases are not solid tumours, they meet other criteria for cancer and can be, and often are, included under this definition.)
carbohydrates: a group of organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The group includes the sugars, starches and cellulose.
carboxylic acid: an acidic organic compound containing one or more univalent carboxyl(-COOH) groups.
carcinogen: a chemical capable of inducing cancer.
carcinogenesis: the inception and development of a cancer - a carcinoma.
carcinogenic: able to induce cancer.
CAS Number or CASR Number: Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number. The unique number assigned to a chemical by the Chemical Abstracts Service, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
cellulose (C6H10O5)n: a carbohydrate which forms the main constituent of cell walls in higher plants and many algae.
central nervous system: the main ganglia of the nervous system and their attached nerve chords; in humans these are the brain and spinal chord. Ganglia are collections of nerve fibre endings and cells (see also 'nervous system').
characterisation: the determination of the composition and properties of a product, emission, effluent or solid waste. Characterisation includes the identification of trace components and their concentrations.
chemical oxygen demand (COD): a measure of the amount of oxygen (mg/L) required to chemically oxidise the organic matter present in a sample of water.
chemical: any element, compound or complex present as an entity or contained in a mixture.
chronic exposure: exposure to a chemical for a relatively long period of time (for example, 365 days (1 year) or more for humans). cfAcute exposure.
chronic toxicity: a toxic effect which occurs after repeated or prolonged exposure. Chronic effects may occur some time after exposure has ceased.
cocarcinogen: a substance or agent that enhances or potentiates the effects of a carcinogen.
cogeneration: the generation of electrical power and utilisation of waste heat.
common property environmental resources: environmental resources such as rivers, seas and indigenous fauna which generally are not, or cannot be, privately owned and traded.
condensate: a substance resulting from condensation of vapour to the liquid or the solid form.
criterion, pl. criteria: in environmental management, is applied to the substance or its concentration, to refer to it as an indicator variable of the level of pollution, above which there is an unacceptable level of environmental hazard.
database: place where quantities of data are stored in an organised fashion.
design ground level concentration: maximum acceptable average exposure to a substance at ground level; used to calculate the allowable emissions of substances from industries.
desulfurisation: the process by which sulfur and sulfur compounds are removed from gases or liquid hydrocarbon mixtures, usually by chemical or catalytic processes.
diatomaceous earth: friable, earthy material consisting of hydrated silica, comprised of skeletons of microscopic, single celled algae called diatoms. Commonly used for filtering and absorbing various liquids.
diffuse data: data in the NPI from sources other than reporting facilities. Data includes sources such as motor vehicles and industry facilities that do not report themselves. More information is available about how NPIdata is determined. Previously diffuse data was called Aggregated Emissions Data (AED)
distillation: the process of forming a gas or vapour from a liquid or solid solution by heating and/or lowering pressure and condensing the vapour distilled to separate some or all of the components of the solution.
ecology: the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment. Note that ecology is the study and the science of the interrelations between living organisms and their environment. The term ecology is now frequently misused, usually as "the ecology", when what is meant is a particular ecosystem, a set of ecosystems or the environment.
ecosystem: a community of living things and the non-living environment functioning together as a system - an ecological system.
emission: release or discharge of a substance to the environment whether in pure form or contained in other matter and whether in solid, liquid or gaseous form.
emission data: for a substance, means an estimate of the amount of the substance emitted in a reporting period that identifies: (a) the medium to which the substance was discharged (for example, air, land, or water); and (b) the estimation technique used.
emphysema: the presence of air pockets in the lung tissue.
energy balance: calculation of the various energy inputs, and losses for a process. The energy input should be equal to the outputs, energy stored and lost, as required by the First Law of Thermodynamics.
environment: the sum of all external conditions and influences affecting the life, development, and ultimately, the survival of an organism.
environmental fate: the end-condition and/or location of a substance after transport in the environment; with or without undergoing physical, biological and chemical interactions during the transport.
environmental transport: the movement through the biosphere of a substance (chemical, trace elements, etc.), including the physical, biological, and chemical interactions undergone by the substance.
EPHC: Environment Protection and Heritage Council
epidemiological: relating to the study of the relationships determining the frequency and distribution of disease in a human community.
epidemiology: the study of diseases as they affect populations rather than the cases of isolated individuals.
epithelium: the layer of cells forming the epidermis of the skin and the surface layer of mucous and serous membranes. (Epithelium cells may be flat (squamous),cube-shaped (cuboidal), or cylindrical (columnar); their regenerative ability is excellent.)
estimation technique: a method for estimating the amount of a substance emitted or transferred
ethanol (C2H5OH): an alcohol with low enough toxicity for (moderate) human consumption.
ethene (C2H4): the first member of the olefin series of hydrocarbons. A colourless flammable gas with a sweetish odour, produced by thermal cracking of the ethane in natural gas. Polyethylene is manufactured from it by polymerisation.
eutrophication: the deterioration in water quality and life-support capabilities of a water body, caused by the entry of excessive nitrogen and/or phosphorus in effluents or run-off. The excess nutrients allow excessive growth of plant life in the water body. Subsequent rotting of dead plant matter consumes dissolved oxygen and releases toxins into the water body.
facility: any building or land together with any machinery, plant, appliance, equipment, implement, tool or other item used in connection with any activity carried out at the facility; and includes an offshore facility.The facility may be located on a single site or on adjacent or contiguous sites owned or operated by the same person.
fauna: animals peculiar to an area or period.
FDA: Food and Drug Administration, US.
feedstock: raw materials fed into a chemical or processing plant.
femtograms; femtograms per cubic metre: a femtogram is one billionth of a microgram (that is, 0.000000000000001grams). One femtogram per cubic metre is one billionth of a microgram of a substance in a cubic metre of air, soil or water (that is, 0.000000000000000001grams per litre of air, soil or water).
fermentation: a process in which micro-organisms digest organic compounds aerobically or anaerobically.
financial reporting year: year commencing 1 July
flammability: a measure of the extent to which a substance will support combustion.
flash point: the temperature at which the vapours of a substance, mixed with air, spontaneously ignite.
flora: plants peculiar to an area or period.
food chain: the transfer of nutrients, and hence energy, from one group of organisms to another in a series or "chain".
food web: food chains interconnecting at various levels.
fossil fuels: fuels derived from fossilised organic matter such as coal, oil and petroleum .
fugitive emissions: substances which escape to air from a source not associated with a specific process but scattered throughout the plant, e.g. leaks from equipment, dust blown from stockpiles.
genotoxin: a substance capable of causing damage to genetic material, such as DNA.
geohydrological: relating to subterranean waters.
greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon dioxide equivalent (indirect), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
ground level concentration: measured or estimated concentration of a pollutant at ground level. Estimated values are derived from pollutant dispersion models.
groundwater: subsurface water which may feed wells and springs.
guideline: a document suggesting values for maximum concentrations or emissions of a substance for the protection of the environment or human health cf Standard.
habitat: the locality or natural environment in which a plant or animal lives.
halocarbon: a hydrocarbon with some hydrogen atoms replaced by halogen atoms such as chlorine or fluorine.
halogenated: containing one or more halogen atoms, i.e. fluorine, chlorine, iodine, bromine or astatine.
hazard: an intrinsic capacity associated with an agent or process capable of causing harm.
hazardous substances: substances which are capable of causing serious damage to human health. Serious damage is classed as being where a clear functional disturbance or morphological change, which has toxicological significance, results from repeated or prolonged exposure.
heat capacity: the energy in joules required to raise the temperature of a body or system by 1 degree Kelvin.
heavy metals: metallic elements mainly of high atomic weight, generally toxic to plant and animal life in low concentrations. These elements are often present in the environment in trace concentrations and exhibit biological accumulation. Examples include mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead, which are toxic to humans in any form or quantity. Arsenic is termed a 'heavy metal' because of its toxicity, although strictly speaking it is a 'metalloid' - neither a metal or a non-metal. Some heavy metals are essential nutrients in low doses or of a particular valency, but toxic in higher doses or other valencies. Zinc is an example of the first kind and chromium of the second kind. Some are tolerated by other life forms, for example; sea-birds tolerate, and often have, high body-burdens of cadmium.
heterocyclic: a cyclic or ring molecular structure in which one or more of the atoms in the ring is an element other than carbon. (Common heterocyclics are pyridine, pyrrole, furan, thiophene, and purine).
hexane (C6H14): the sixth member of the paraffin series of hydrocarbons, existing in six different isomeric forms.
hexavalent: an atom able to bond with six other atoms.
higher plants: plant forms traditionally recognised as plants, in contrast to simpler plant forms such as fungi and algae.
hydrates: compounds including contained water; generally salts containing water of crystallisation.
hydrocarbon: an organic compound consisting exclusively of the elements carbon and hydrogen.
hydrogenation: a reaction in which hydrogen is added to a chemical, for example, in the conversion of unsaturated fats to saturated fats.
IARC: International Agency for Research on Cancer.
individual susceptibility: the marked variability in the manner in which individuals are affected by the same exposure to a toxic agent.
industry concentration: an average concentration calculated from results for industry sourced pollution over a one year period; the concentration at any time could be higher or lower than the annual average.
industry reporting materials: resources agreed between participating jurisdictions which provide advice to a facility in meeting requirements from the NPI NEPM, including: (a) advice or guidance on the information which is required to be furnished or retained by occupiers; and (b) an appropriate estimation technique, or range of estimation techniques.
inert: a substance which has little or no chemical reactivity.
inhalation reference concentration for non carcinogens (rfc): an estimate of the daily inhalation exposure that is possible without an appreciable risk of adverse non-cancer effects during a lifetime; set by the US EPA.
inhalation: breathing in.
inorganic: substances not containing carbon-carbon bonds (cf organic).
intangibles: class of economic benefits and costs which because of their nature are impossible or very difficult to quantify. Certain aspects of beauty and wildlife protection are included in this category.
inventory: a detailed, complete list.
inversion (temperature inversion): reversal of the usual decrease in air temperature with increasing altitude. Under normal conditions, air nearer the ground being warmer and of lower density than cooler air at higher altitudes, rises, carrying up pollutants collected at ground level. In the absence of wind this vertical movement is virtually the only means of pollutant dispersion. On calm, clear, winter nights however, radiation causes rapid cooling of the ground and the air near it and a temperature inversion forms. Pollutants are trapped near the ground in this cooler denser air. If no winds develop and day temperatures are not high enough to heat up the ground and restore the normal thermal gradient, the inversion (and pollution) persists and intensifies.
ion exchange: replacement of ions adsorbed on a solid, or exposed at the surface of a solid, by ions in solution. When used for water softening, calcium ions in hard water in contact with an ion exchange resin or mineral zeolite and are replaced by sodium ions.
ion: an atom or group of atoms which have gained or lost one or more electrons, and thus carry a positive or negative charge.
ischaemia: local and temporary disruption of blood supply.
karyotype: the character of the cell nucleus as determined by the nature of all its chromosomes.
kilotonne: One thousand tonnes. That is, 1,000,000,000 grams (one billion grams).
LC50: a concentration of a substance that produces death in 50% of a population of experimental animals after exposure for a period of time which is usually specified (e.g. '96 hour LC50'). This term is used when the substance exists in the organism's ambient environment at the specified concentration (for example, fish in water in which the substance is present at the specified concentration).
LD50: a dose of a substance that produces death in 50% of a population of experimental animals. It is usually expressed as milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of body weight. This term is used when the exposure pathway is by absorption of the specified dose.
leachate: liquid that has percolated through solid waste or other solids and has extracted materials from it by leaching.
lesion: a discontinuity of tissue or loss of function of a part of the body as a result of disease or trauma.
leukemia: a form of cancer which affects the white blood cells.
LGA: Local Government Area.
lime: calcium oxide (quick lime) or hydroxide (slaked lime). The term is sometimes loosely applied to calcium salts in general.
lymphatic cancer: cancer of the lymphatic system.
mandatory reporting transfer destination: (a) destination for containment including landfill, tailings storage facility, underground injection or other long term purpose-built waste storage structure; (b) an off-site destination for destruction; (c) an off-site sewerage system; (d) an off-site treatment facility which leads solely to one or more of the above.
mandatory transfer data: for a substance means an estimate of the amount of the substance transferred, to a mandatory reporting transfer destination, in a reporting period that identifies: (a) the type of destination; (b) whether the transfer is on-site or off-site, and; (c) the estimation technique used.
median lethal concentration (LC50): a standard measure of toxicity- indicates the concentration (usually in air, water or food ingested) of a substance that will kill 50% of a group of experimental insects or animals.
methanol, (CH3OH): the first in the series of the simplest alcohols. It is highly poisonous to humans and many animals.
micro-climate: climatic conditions occurring in a geographically local area, rather than regional area.
micrograms per cubic metre: 1 millionth of a gram of a substance in a cubic metre of air, soil or water. That is, 0.000000001 grams per litre of air, soil or water.
micrometre: 0.000001 metre, i.e. a millionth of a metre.
micron: see micrometre
milligrams per cubic metre: 1 thousandth of a gram of a substance in a cubic metre of air, soil or water. That is, 0.000001 grams per litre of air, soil or water.
mist: a gaseous dispersion of liquid particles, usually less than 50 microns in diameter. When the concentration of suspended particles is sufficient to reduce visibility, the mist becomes a fog.
mutagen: a substance that causes mutations - changes to the genetic material in the body
mutagenesis: the process of producing a mutation.
mutagenic: able to produce a mutation.
mutation: a change in the genetic material of cells.
nanograms per cubic metre: 1 billionth of a gram of a substance in a cubic metre of air, soil or water. That is, 0.000000000001 grams per litre of air, soil or water.
nanometre (nm): 0.000000001 metre, i.e. a billionth of a metre.
National Ambient Air Quality Standards: Limits on acceptable levels of air pollutants in Australia, set by the NEPC; these exist only for 6 substances.
n.e.c.: not elsewhere classified.
necrosis: changes which are indicative of cell death.
nervous system: the body's whole system of nerves, ganglia, and nerve endings (see also 'central nervous system').
NEPC: (Australian) National Environment Protection Council.
NEPM: (Australian) National Environment Protection Measure. NEPMs are broad framework-setting statutory instruments defined in the NEPC Act in Australia (see www.nepc.gov.au/nepms/ for more information).
neurotoxin: a substance which has adverse effects on the nervous system.
NHMRC: (Australian) National Health and Medical Research Council.
nominated agency: the agency of a participating state or territory which that state or territory has nominated as having responsibility for collection of data from reporting facilities.
occupier: in relation to any facility means a person who is in occupation or control of the facility whether or not that person is the owner of the facility. A business entity is the occupier of a facility where that business entity has operational control of the facility.
off-shore facility: a vessel or structure located in an adjacent area (as defined in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands)Act 1967) that is used or constructed for the recovery of petroleum (including natural gas), or carries, contains or includes equipment for drilling, or for carrying out other operations in connection with a well, from the vessel or structure; and includes a combination of two or more related off-shore facilities, but excludes a vessel engaged merely in site surveys or investigations to a depth in the seabed not exceeding 100 metres.
olefin: a class of unsaturated aliphatic hydrocarbons having the general formula CnH2n that contain one or more double bonds and therefore are chemically reactive. Ethylene is the simplest olefin. Those containing one double bond are called alkenes, and those containing two are called alkadienes or diolefins.
operational control: a business entity that controls a facility has operational control of the facility if the entity, or one of its subsidiaries, has full authority to introduce and implement its operating policies at the facility.
organic: substances containing carbon-carbon bonds. Historically, the term referred to substances which are part of or derived from living organisms, although most organic compounds now are synthetic. All living matter on Earth includes carbon as a component. See also inorganic.
overburden: the overlying rock and soil, which is not part of the ore or part of the sub-grade rock, that is displaced during underground or surface mining operations.
oxidant, oxidising agent: an oxidant is a substance that accepts electrons during chemical reactions. These reactions often involve oxygen resulting in the formation of oxides. The rusting of steel is an example of this type of reaction.
oxidation state: the number of electrons to be added or subtracted from an atom in a combined state (i.e. in a chemical compound) to convert it to the elemental form.
oxygenates or oxygenated hydrocarbons: compounds which contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, for example alcohols.
PAH:ref. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
particulate matter, particulates, particles: discrete aggregations of matter, either solid or liquid (or a mixture) and larger than the individual molecules of the surrounding gas or air. See also PM10.
permeability: the ease of fluid flow through a porous or pervious material.
pH: a measure of how acidic or alkaline a material, liquid or solid is. pH is presented on a logarithmic scale of 0 to 14. 0 represents the most acid, and 14 the most alkaline and 7 neutrality. pH is the negative log of the hydrogen ion concentration.
phenols: a class of aromatic organic compounds in which one or more hydroxy groups are attached directly to the benzene ring (e.g. phenol, cresols, xylenols, resorcinol, naphthols.)
photochemical reactions: chemical reactions which occur in the presence of ultra-violet or visible light.
photochemical smog: air pollution formed in the presence of ultra-violet or visible light from the sun
photosynthesis: The synthesis, by living cells, of organic compounds from simple inorganic compounds, involving light energy. The process is used by green higher plants and algae.
phytotoxic: poisonous to plants.
picograms per cubic metre: 1 thousand billionth of a gram of a substance in a cubic metre of air, soil or water. That is, 0.000000000000001 grams per litre.
pilot plant: a small-scale industrial process unit operated to test the application of a chemical or other manufacturing process under conditions that will yield information useful in design and operation of full-scale manufacturing equipment.
PM10: particulate matter which is less than 10 micrometres in diameter (a micrometer is 1 millionth of a metre); also known as respirable particles.
PM2.5: particulate matter which is less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter
pollutant: a chemical which may reduce the quality of the environment.
pollution: presence of one or more pollutants in the environment.
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH): a generic name for a broad group of compounds all of which have condensed benzene rings (hexagonal rings joined along common sides). Naphthalene is the simplest PAH. PAHs are, and have been historically, ubiquitous in the environment. They occur in smoke from burning wood and vegetation, from fossil fuel combustion and on burnt meat. They are present in much higher concentrations when a wood or coal fire is starved of adequate air or the petrol or diesel engine is emitting smoke. They are usually adsorbed onto particulates in the smoke from the above sources.
polymerisation: the linking of small molecules (monomers) to form larger molecules (polymers). The molecular weight and structure of a polymer is determined by reaction factors such as temperature and pressure, and concentrations of reactants, monomer, catalyst or initiator, and modifying agents. Polymerisation may occur by addition reactions, or by condensation as in the production of polyamides, polyesters and polysulfides.
polysaccharides: a class of high-molecular-weight carbohydrates which break down on hydrolysis to monosaccharides.
possible carcinogen: compound that has shown some evidence for carcinogenity in animals but for which there is no human data.
postcodes: Four digits that describe a postal region. Less than four digits can be used (e.g. first 2 digits). Only one location criteria can be searched for at a time.
probable carcinogen: compound that has shown some evidence of carcinogenity in humans, or lacking adequate data on humans but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenity in animals.
propene (CH2:CH.CH3 ): a colourless gas, the second member of the olefin series of hydrocarbons, produced as a co-product in the manufacture of ethylene. It is used in the manufacture of petrochemicals, polypropylene and high octane gasoline components by alkylation and polymerisation.
pulmonary fibrosis: development of excessive fibrous tissue in the lung.
pulmonary oedema: presence of fluid in the lung tissue.
pyrolysis: the transformation of a substance into another compound or compounds by the application of heat alone.
refractory: resistant to action of heat.
refrigerant: chemical used as a cooling agent, for example, in refrigerators and air conditioners.
reporting facility: means a facility that is required to report information under clause 9 of the (Australian) National Environment Protection Measure for the National Pollutant Inventory.
reporting period: for a facility is: (a) a financial reporting year; or (b) if the relevant jurisdiction approves a different annual reporting period that annual reporting period.
residuals: (1) a synonym for wastes and emissions. The substances discharged from a manufacturing or process plant in its wastes to the atmosphere, receiving waters and land. (2) (oil refining) the bottom product of a distillation process, produced to a commercial specification.
respirable particle: particle of the size, smaller than 10.0 microns, most likely to be deposited in the pulmonary portion of the respiratory tract.refPM10.
respiratory tract: body structures used for breathing including the mouth, nose, throat and lungs.
risk factor for carcinogens: the extra risk of getting cancer due to exposure to a particular level of a carcinogenic substance; set by the US EPA or the WHO.
runoff: the portion of rainfall, melted snow, or irrigation water that flows across ground surface and eventually is returned to streams. Runoff can pick up pollutants from the air or the land and carry them to the receiving water.
satellite image: digitally recorded image of the earth's surface from a satellite ins pace; the image is captured from measurements made in the visible and infrared spectrum, so colours are not necessarily true to real life.
scrubber: as an air-pollution control device, an absorber which uses a liquid in a packed tower or in a spray to remove pollutants from a gas stream by absorption or chemical reaction. The packed tower is to provide a very large wetted surface of the absorbent.
secondary pollutants: pollutants formed by chemical reactions occurring within the environment. One or more primary pollutants discharged to the environment and possibly one or more naturally occurring substances are the reactants. For example, ozone is formed by a reaction between oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons and oxygen.
sediments: insoluble materials in water bodies such as streams. Sediments maybe suspended in the water, transported on or near the stream bed, or may settle on the bottom.
sensitisation, develop an intolerance: to become sensitive/allergic to the effects of often extremely small quantities of a substance.
skeletal fluorosis: fluoride deposition in the bones.
social benefits and costs: economic benefits and costs accruing to, and borne by a community generally or sectors of it, not to a private individual or organisation.
solvent: a substance which dissolves or dilutes another.
source of emissions: an activity or process which can lead to the release of a pollutant.
speciation: refers to the subdivision of classes of substances into groups with closely related properties (e.g. compounds of chromium can be subdivided into groups defined by the oxidation state of chromium (e.g. III or VI)within the compound).
spray drift: (1). mist or spray which is carried out with the effluent air from(water) cooling towers. (2). mist from agricultural crop spraying, which drifts down-wind from the intended target crop.
stack emissions: emissions to the atmosphere from a factory chimney or stack.
standard: a legally enforceable value for maximum concentrations or emissions of a substance for the protection of the environment or human health cf guideline.
stoichiometric: properly refers to the set of chemical and physical principles applied to determine the relationships between reactants and products in a chemical process. In stoichiometric calculations, it is the mass relationship existing between the chemical reactants and products, which are of the primary interest. As an adjective, "stoichiometric" is often taken to refer to the quantities of reactants and products as determined by the reaction equation for a specific chemical reaction, which produces no by-products.
stratosphere: atmosphere 15-60 km above the ground where temperature increases.
substance: any natural or artificial entity, composite material, mixture or formulation, other than an article.
substrate: the media or nutrient materials on which micro-organisms grow.
susceptibility: sensitivity or predisposition to a condition or action; the state of being sensitive or predisposed to a pathogen.
synergism: the property in which "one plus one is more than two". When two or more agents act together and their combined effect is greater than the sum of their separate effects, then they act synergistically. The effect of the two agents or variables is related to the product of the quantities of the agents, rather than their sum in a synergistic relationship. For example, people who smoke are 40 times more likely than non-smokers to get lung cancer following exposure to asbestos dust.
systematic acidosis: a condition of raised acidity in the blood or body tissues.
tailings: rock and other waste materials that are separated from crushed ore in the mining process
TEQ: for the NPI, polychlorinated dioxins and furans are reported as total emissions - i.e. a total of the emissions from each of the species in this class of substances. However, dioxins and furans are often shown in toxic equivalents (TEQ), which is a means of scaling the emissions of each species of dioxin and furans according to their relative toxicity. Hence care should be taken then comparing NPI emissions of polychlorinated dioxins and furans with other sources of information.
teratogen: an agent capable of causing abnormalities in a developing foetus; that is, causing birth defects.
teratogenesis: the causing of abnormalities in a developing foetus.
teratogenic: able to produce abnormalities in a developing foetus.
terpenes: a class of volatile aromatic hydrocarbons.
threshold limit value: refers to airborne concentrations of substances, and represents conditions under which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed for an 8 hour day, 5 days a week for a working lifetime (expressed as parts per million (ppm) for gases and vapours and as milligrams per cubic metre(mg/m3 ) for fumes, mists and dusts).
TLm 96 hour value: the concentration of a substance which would kill 50 per cent of exposed aquatic organisms within a 96 hour period.
tolerance: the relative capability of an organism to endure an unfavourable environmental factor / characteristic. Intolerance: see sensitivity.
tonne: one metric ton (1,000 kg, or 1,000,000 grams).
toxicity: the quality, state, or relative degree of being toxic or poisonous. Toxicity relates to the ability of a chemical molecule or compound to produce injury when it reaches a susceptible site in the body. The damage may be permanent or transient.
tracheitis: inflammation of the air passage between the larynx and lungs (the trachea).
transfer: (a) means the transport or movement, on-site or off-site, of substances to a mandatory reporting transfer destination or a voluntary reporting transfer destination; but;(b) does not include the transport or movement of substances contained in overburden, waste rock, uncontaminated soil, uncontaminated sediment, rock removed in construction or road building, or soil used for the capping of landfills.
trivalent: an atom able to bond with up to three other atoms.
troposphere: atmosphere up to about 15 km altitude.
tumour: a swelling or enlargement or an abnormal mass of tissue in which the growth of cells is uncontrolled. A tumour can be either benign (not malignant) or malignant (cancerous). A tumour is also called a 'neoplasm'.
unsaturated organic compounds: an organic compound having some of the carbon atoms in its molecule linked by two or three covalent bonds.
US EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency.
vapour density: the density of a vapour relative to the density of air.
vapour pressure: the pressure at which a liquid and its vapour are in equilibrium at a specific temperature. At this equilibrium, the gas above the liquid is saturated with the vapour, and condensation and evaporation are occurring at equal rates.
vehicle concentration: average concentration calculated from results for vehicle sourced pollution over a one year period; the concentration at any time could be higher or lower than the annual average.
VOC:see volatile organic compounds
volatile organic compounds: a general term which refers to a large and diverse group of substances, including hydrocarbons, oxygenates and halocarbons that readily evaporate at room temperature.
volatile: readily evaporates at room temperature.
volume/volume (or vol/vol): indicates that a concentration is described in terms of the volume of solute (or contaminant) as a proportion of the volume of solvent. Usually used for mixtures of liquids or gases.
voluntary reporting transfer destination: a destination for reuse, recycling, reprocessing, purification, partial purification, immobilisation, remediation or energy recovery.
voluntary transfer data: for a substance means an estimate of the amount of the substance transferred, to a voluntary reporting transfer destination, in a reporting period that identifies: (a) the type of destination; (b) whether the transfer is on-site or off-site; and (c) the estimation technique used.
waste rock: the sub-grade rock displaced during underground or surface mining operations
water table: the boundary between the saturated and unsaturated zone within the ground (rock or soil).
weight/weight: indicates that a concentration or dose is described in terms of the weight of solute (or contaminant) as a proportion of weight of the solvent (or dosed organism).
WHO guideline value: an indication of the atmospheric concentration of a substance to which people may be exposed without adverse health effects; set by the WHO.
WHO: World Health Organisation.