Health and oil and gas operations

Natural gas is commonly used in households all over Australia with no evidence that it is a health risk.

Several major studies have found no link between oil and gas operations and health concerns.

Baseline health study

Since 1980, the Australian Institute of Petroleum has sponsored the development and operation of an independent epidemiology program called Health Watch.

This research program, linked with Monash University, studies people who have worked in the Australian oil and gas industry (including exploration, production and refining) to assess their mortality rates, cancer incidences and eventual causes of death.

Health Watch has followed about 20,000 past and present employees during their time in the industry and after they leave or retire. It also compares this information with the general Australian population.

Health Watch clearly shows that petroleum industry employees have better health than the general Australian community and are less likely to die of the diseases commonly causing death – including cancer, heart and respiratory conditions.

The overall cancer rate of employees in the petroleum industry is no different to general Australian average cancer rate. But the industry’s overall death rates from cancer are significantly lower than Australia’s average death rates from cancer. The death rates for heart disease, stroke, respiratory and digestive diseases and other causes (such as accidents) are significantly lower than the comparable Australian rates.

For more information, see the Health Watch webpage.

Queensland Health report on coal seam gas in the Tara region (2013)

No link has been established between coal seam gas and health concerns, according to Queensland Health.


Public Health England report on shale gas extraction

In a 2013 report, Public Health England stated that: “The currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to the emissions associated with shale gas extraction are low if the operations properly run and regulated.”