CLAIMS DISMISSED: A report says there is no link between CSG and health worries at Tara.
CLAIMS DISMISSED: A report says there is no link between CSG and health worries at Tara. Kevin Farmer

A clean bill of health for CSG

A QUEENSLAND Health-commissioned report has dismissed speculation coal seam gas drilling is causing health conditions among residents in Tara.

It emerged last year residents from the mining-rich town had fronted GPs across the region complaining of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and rashes.

Doctors and industry experts raised concerns about whether the symptoms were a result of CSG activity and increased levels of air pollution in the area.

But a summary risk assessment on the emotive issue found there was no worrisome link between the health problems and the CSG activities.

A report tabled in parliament showed Queensland Health commissioned a Brisbane-based doctor to establish a clinic in October and individually assess a number of patients in the Tara region.

Dr Keith Adam noted in his report the distance of the patient's various residences to CSG wells would result in fairly low exposure.

The report stated Dr Adam's clinical conclusion was patients were not able to identify any specific condition to point to an obvious relationship between complaints and CSG emissions.

"The reported symptoms, if due in any way to CSG emissions, are more suggestive of intermittent exposure to low-level irritants and odours, rather than exposure leading to significant systemic toxicological effects," the report states.

"It appears clear the reported symptoms are rapidly reversible based on the reports that symptoms improved when residents were away from the area."

The report did make several recommendations about consultation with the community about the CSG industry and potential impacts.

At the time the story broke, families in the area spoke of experiencing headaches from the sound of CSG compressors at night and nausea from the smell of gas.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg acknowledged the report was unlikely to resolve concerns among some Tara residents. He said the recommendations would be circulated among government agencies and a comprehensive response developed and implemented.


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