The health effects of chemical waste in an urban community Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper presents the results of a community health survey of people living near a hazardous chemical waste site in Kingston, Queensland. In comparison with a matched control group, people near the site were no more likely to report serious diseases, and reports of cancer and mortality rates did not differ in the two groups. Kingston residents reported higher rates of symptoms of general poor health, high levels of stress and anxiety and a higher incidence of miscarriages. The reports of poor physical health appear to be independent of proximity to the hazardous waste site and duration of residence in the area. Symptom prevalence and perceived recent decline in health correlate most strongly with the stress and anxiety measures. While long-term investigation is necessary, it appears at this stage that the chemical waste is not associated with an increase in major diseases as reported by those who were interviewed. When health in a broader sense is considered, however, it is clear that the situation has had a negative impact.


  • Dunne, Michael
  • Lawton, Jan
  • Raphael, Beverley
  • Burnett, Paul

publication date

  • June 1990

has subject area