Doctors warn of health risks of gas and coal mining

A GROUP of activist doctors have taken aim at gas and coal projects in Queensland and New South Wales, calling for the creation of a national environmental protection body.

The Doctors for the Environment Australia report - The Health Factor: ignored by industry, overlooked by government - warns of health dangers stemming from coal and gas projects whether planned or already in action.

The findings were dismissed by top lobby groups for both gas and coal - the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and the Queensland Resources Council - which described it as scare-mongering and lacking scientific backing.

The report blames CSG for air pollution, community anxiety and the contamination of underground aquifers.

It also warns of health issues caused by the Acland mines near Toowoomba and environmental consequences of large-scale development in the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton.

The report concluded there needed to be stronger state regulations on resource projects plus the creation of a group similar to the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.

In a joint rebuttal by APPEA and the QRC, the two organisations point to the last case of pneumoconiosis or "black lung" occurred more than 20 years ago.

"Fear and misinformation is not substitute for scientific monitoring and reporting, to which the coal and CSG industries continue to contribute voluntarily with independent verification to state and federal authorities," a spokesman said.

The Doctors for the Environment Australia report was released in the same week the federal council for the Australian Medical Association - representing 27,000 doctors - demanded all coal seam gas proposals be dumped if "stringent health risk assessments" had not been done.



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