Environmental Contaminants

Environmental Contaminants

Pollution is a major threat to our health and in 2015 it was an attributable cause of 16% of all global deaths. Environmental pollution sources are vast and include emissions from energy production, urban and agricultural runoff, fine particulates from industrial activity, vehicle transport and the resuspension of contamination of dusts and soils. Our researchers conduct high quality research to assess and evaluate the impact of contaminants on land, air and water systems to better inform the public, industry and government about what interventions are required and why.

Alignment with Macquarie University Strategic Research Framework (2015-2024)
  • Secure Planet: Living in a changing environment
  • Innovative technologies: Science and engineering technologies for the 21st Century

Alignment with Australian Government Science and Research Priorities
  • Soil and water
  • Resources
  • Health

Alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production


The Lead Expert Working Group was established by the NSW EPA in December 2014, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Lead Abatement Strategy, and associated remediation activities, for land impacted by the Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter in Boolaroo NSW. The Lead Expert Working Group includes representatives from the NSW EPA, NSW Health, Lake Macquarie City Council, Macquarie University and the University of Sydney.

Authors: Martin, R., Gilligan, A., James, M., Dalton, C., Chapman, D., Taylor, M.P., Cattle, S., Nyland, G. 2016. Lead Expert Working Group Report on Managing Residual Lead Contamination in North Lake Macquarie. Report prepared for the NSW Environment Protection Authority, pp. 118. ISBN 978-1-76039-627-5. Available at: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/community-engagement/community-news/lmc-review-lead-exposure-management/lead-expert-working-group (accessed 6 June 2017).


On 16 September 2015, the New South Wales (NSW) Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Mark Speakman issued a media release regarding the NSW government’s decision to undertake an independent review of the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority’s (NSW EPA) management of contaminated sites. The Minister advised that Macquarie University Professor Mark P Taylor had been commissioned to undertake the review.

Taylor, M.P. and Cosenza, I. 2016. Review of the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority’s (NSW EPA) Management of Contaminated Sites. Final Report, pp. 258. ISBN: 978-1-74138-444-4. Available at: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/taylor-report-williamtown.htm (accessed 19 May 2017).


In 2018, the Australian Building Codes Boards (Federal Government) commissioned Professor Mark Taylor, Macquarie University, to conduct a literature review of known causes that contribute to brass fittings leaching lead into drinking water.

Taylor, M.P., Harvey, P.J., Morrison, A.L. 2018. Lead in Plumbing Products and Materials. Macquarie University, NSW, Australia, pp. 179. ISBN: 978-1-74138-468-0. Available at: https://www.abcb.gov.au/Resources/Publications/Consultation/Lead-in-Plumbing-Products-and-Materials (accessed 14 December 2018).

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