Public and Aboriginal Health Division
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Produced by the Environmental Health Directorate (EHD)
April 2021
Webinar on the wastewater discussion paper
The WA Local Government Association in partnership with the EHD are hosting a webinar to assist Local Governments to participate in the consultation on the future management of public health risks from wastewater. The webinar will be held on Thursday 15 April 2021, 2:00pm to 3:00pm. You must register here to attend. Consultation on the discussion paper closes on 21 May 2021. Submissions should be provided on the online survey
Environmental Health YouTube playlist
The EHD has created an Environmental Health playlist on the Department of Health's YouTube training page, which will be used to store useful videos for Environmental Health Professionals. Two recent videos from the EH webinar have been included:
  1. Public Health Act update presentation and
  2. Food Safety Culture presentation
Register: South-West assessment of site and soil evaluation reports workshop
In partnership with the South-West Regional EH Group, the EHD will be hosting an assessment of site and soil evaluation reports workshop in Busselton on Friday 25th June 2021, 10am to 2:30pm. Twenty places are available for EHOs, planners, wastewater industry and consultants outside of the South-West Group to attend the workshop. You must register online to attend. Another workshop is being organised in Perth on the 27th August 2021, 9am to 3:30pm. Registration has not yet opened. Please check the website for updates.
Importing and exporting food
The EHD and local governments often receive enquiries from business about what requirements are in place for importing or exporting foods in WA. In general for importing food, there are notification or registration requirements, the food needs to comply with the Food Standards Code including labelling, recall, and commodity standards. When exporting foods, there are various agencies that provide approval and advice to assist business access export markets. A summary of the main requirements for importing and exporting food has been published on the Department of Health website. The information is accessed under the Licensing and Industry - Food; Starting or registering a food business section.
Foodborne outbreak investigation infographic
The EHD in collaboration with OzFoodNet has published an infographic providing a quick summary of outbreaks investigated in WA, number of cases per outbreak, suspect foods and critical food safety focus areas to reinforce to the food industry. The role of local government EHOs in the investigation of foodborne outbreaks is critical in determining the source of infection as well as communicating back to the business about improving food safety practices to prevent future outbreaks.These infographics will be included on the foodborne disease outbreak investigation webpage three times per year to support Environmental Health Officers with their investigations. Email feedback to Foodsafety
Review of dairy food businesses across WA
The Department of Health is the enforcement agency for dairy primary production businesses, dairy processing businesses and dairy collection and transportation businesses under regulation 4(2) of the Food Regulations 2009. The Department is currently reviewing data on dairy food businesses and is seeking local governments assistance to confirming dairy food businesses’ details within their local government area. Local governments that receive a letter are requested to confirm the details by the 15 April 2021 and advise the EHD of any additional dairy food businesses by calling 9222 2000 or alternatively email FoodSafety. If you have not received a letter and believe there may be such premises within your local government area please also notify the EHD. 
$100,000 fine after customer dies of anaphylactic shock
A NSW restaurant that served up a plate of hummus has been fined over $100,000 after a customer died soon after eating the meal. The tahini used in the recipe contained sesame seeds which caused the anaphylactic shock. The NSW Supreme Court found the restaurants food safety management lacking. Read more here. A timely reminder that food businesses need to understand their requirements for managing food allergens. More information is available on the food allergen webpage
Published findings of the Play it Food Safe pilot campaign
Curtin University has published the evaluation findings for stage one of the Play it Food Safe campaign, piloted within the City of Busselton and surrounding areas. The evaluation identified the need to reduce the initial 14 campaign messages down to four key priority messages as part of stage 2 of the campaigns roll out State-wide, currently underway from December 2020 to late April 2021. Read more here.  
Measuring heavy metals in human hair
The EHD is aware that there is some confusion in the community about the use of hair and hair follicle testing for determining levels of exposure to heavy metals and possible health risks posed by these contaminants. Heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, copper, iron and arsenic, can be measured in hair but, at present, levels of such contaminants in hair are not considered a good marker of either exposure or health. Therefore, results of hair monitoring should be treated with caution. Where community members have had hair tested for heavy metals and are concerned about the results, the DOH advises that any concerned persons should follow up the tests with a blood or urine test and then discuss those results with their medical practitioner. Refer to the Measuring heavy metals in human hair factsheet for more information. 
Dust from DIY renovations
Dust and fibres, that may be generated from renovation activities can be irritating to your eyes, nose and throat, while some can cause your skin to itch. Very fine dust and fibres can be breathed deep into your lungs and cause breathing problems if you are sensitive to these dusts and fibres. Following a number of queries the EHD has produced information about the risks of renovation dust:
Hydrogen Peroxide swimming pool and spa sanitisers
The Federal Court of Australia set aside the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authorities (APVMA) decision under section 41 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 to cancel the approvals of certain swimming and spa pool sanitiser products containing hydrogen peroxide and polyhexanide hydrochloride, as published in the Gazette on 28 July 2020. As a result of this decision, previously affected products (e.g Waterco Poppit and Perox products) may continue to be sold and used in accordance with their label instructions. Chlorine or bromine-based disinfection remains the only acceptable, primary disinfectant for use in swimming pools, spas or other water bodies which are part of an aquatic facility in WA in accordance with section 5 of the Code of Practice for Aquatic Facilities
Tobacco signage resources
The Department of Health offers a range of free No Smoking Signage specific for the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006. These signs are for display at enclosed public places required by law to be smoke free and are available to order from the Department of Health's Online Publication Ordering System (external site).
Local Government Environmental Health Initiatives

Promoting local government environmental health initiatives across WA.
Promote local government EH initiatives
The EHD appreciates local government Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and Managers letting us know what initiatives and noteworthy investigations you have been involved in that are worth sharing with other EHOs. Have you been involved in managing fire damaged asbestos? Bushfire recovery? Food outbreak investigations? Released your public health plan? Unprecedented mosquito activity? Please email EH.Stakeholderengagement to promote your work.
Events and professional development opportunities

Assessment of site and soil evaluation report workshop (in person), Busselton, 25 June 2021

Managing fire damaged asbestos risks in local government (online only), 9am to 11am, 20 July 2021 (registration not yet open)

Assessment of site and soil evaluation reports workshop (in preson), Perth, 9am to 3:30pm, 27 August 2021 (registration not yet open)

Environmental Health workforce capacity in local government (online only), 9am to 11am, 16 November 2021 (registration not yet open)
Environmental Health Meetings

Aboriginal Environmental Heath Forum, Broome, May 2021, Contact John Perrett for details

Local Government Regional Group Coordinators, Environmental Health Australia WA
Contact us

The Environmental Health Directorate switchboard can be contacted on
(08) 9222 2000 or email 

The Department of Health head office switchboard is (08) 9222 4222
Download our staff list 
(updated March 2021)
Order publications online
A selection of hard copy Environmental Health Directorate resources can be ordered online using the Department of Health’s
online publication ordering system. Create an account and enter the search category "environmental health".
About the Environmental Health Directorate
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Phone: (08) 9222 2000
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 8172
Perth Business Centre WA 6849
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Environmental Health Directorate, Department of Health WA · PO BOx 8172 · Perth Business Centre, WA 6849 · Australia