Natural gas is commonly used in households all over Australia with no evidence that it is a health risk.
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, go to the Australian Institute of Petroleum’s Health Watch webpage.
A Queensland Government investigation following claims that gas development was harming residents in the Tara region concluded no clear link could be drawn between the health complaints of some residents and the impacts of the local CSG industry on air, water or soil within the community.
The 2013 Queensland Health report also found that given the nature of complaints there were multiple potential causes and explanations, including the use of wood-fired heaters or open fires and rainwater contaminated with bacteria, viruses or other organisms, which are unlikely to be caused by CSG operations.