CRC CARE has developed health-based screening levels (HSLs) for petroleum hydrocarbons to address an identified need for consistent human health risk assessment of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in Australian conditions. Several associated technical reports and models are freely available (see below). The HSLs – concentrations of a contaminant above which further investigation and evaluation is required – represent the best collective view of the available science and application of Australian approaches on selection of health criteria and exposure parameters. The HSL documents and models underwent several international peer reviews by experts in the United States, Canada and Australia. Given the innovative nature of the work, CRC CARE will monitor national and international developments, and publish updates as necessary.
The HSLs and the underlying methodology may be used for health risk assessment purposes in the context of the wider site assessment framework for petroleum hydrocarbon contamination provided in the Assessment of Site Contamination National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) as varied. The HSLs were derived through the consideration of health effects only, with particular emphasis on the vapour exposure pathway. Other considerations such as ecological risk, aesthetics, the presence of free phase product and explosive or fire risk are not addressed by the HSLs and will need to be assessed separately.