Q: What are the health impacts of oil and gas operations?
A: 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. Since 1980, the Australian Institute of Petroleum has funded an independent epidemiology program called Health Watch, undertaken by Monash University. Oil and gas industry personnel are exposed to higher levels of oil and gas products than the general Australian population. But the Health Watch study 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.
Q: What about health complaints from people near CSG operations?
A: In 2013, Queensland Health completed a study, Coal Seam Gas in the Tara Region (2013). It found that given the nature of the reported health complaints, there are multiple potential causes and explanations. This investigation by itself cannot determine whether any of the health effects reported by the community are linked to exposure to coal seam gas activities. The reasons for this include: subjective symptoms and non-specific with a lack of clinical findings; the low number of individuals involved; lack of evidence of employees working within the CSG industry having similar symptoms; and other possible sources of air and water contamination (such as wood-fired stoves). It is also worth noting that similar complaints have not been made in regions with higher levels of CSG industry activity.
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