GP fears for health of gasfield residents

Independent health survey highlights need for betterunderstanding of coal seam gas health impacts.

A report released today by Brisbane general practitioner Dr Geralyn McCarron highlights the need for further investigation of the health impacts for people living in a coal seam gas (CSG) field.

Dr McCarron has been communicating with affected residents of the Tara estates in SE Queensland who believe their health has been adversely affected by pollution from CSG activities near their homes.

She was highly dissatisfied with the adequacy of the recent Queensland Government report and so undertook her own survey of health complaints. The report Symptomatology of a gas field describes interviews with 38 households, encompassing 113 people. Over half of residents surveyed reported that their health has been adversely affected by CSG activities.

Spokesperson for Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) Dr Helen Redmond said that the number of people reporting health complaints was cause for concern, although further interpretation was difficult due to the limitations of the study design.

“We are concerned that the Queensland Government response has been too little, too late,” Dr Redmond said.

“A properly resourced, comprehensive health assessment is what is required in this community now. There must also be ongoing and systematic environmental assessment–which must be independent of industry.

“Only then will we be in a position judge how closely health symptoms relate to the industrialisation of the landscape by the unconventional gas industry.

“This is important not just for the people of Tara, but for every other community living in proximity to a coal seam gas field.

“Health impact assessments should be undertaken before any project is approved.

“The commitment of this GP in trying to alleviate the distress in this community is commendable. Hopefully it will encourage the Queensland Government to do the right thing by this community and others,” Dr Redmond said.

Report: Symptomatology of a gas field by Dr Geralyn McCarron.

Also see: www.lockthegate.org.au/health

Media contact:
DEA spokesperson Dr Helen Redmond: 0414 229 089

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