Families sick in Qld gas field- Hutton

Energy Matters0

Families sick in Qld gas field- Hutton

Updated: 16:16, Thursday July 5, 2012

A number of Queenslanders living near coal seam gas (CSG) wells are reporting symptoms consistent with exposure to gas, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says.

AMA Queensland’s Dr Christian Rowan says the association is aware of a concerning number of patients who claim CSG activities are making them sick.

‘A number of people live near where CSG exploration is occurring and they are reporting symptoms that are consistent to gas exposure,’ Dr Rowan said.

He said he does not have enough information to comment on complaints of rashes, bleeding noses, severe headaches and vomiting by families living at the Tara residential estate, west of Brisbane.

However, eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sometimes heart palpitations and blurred vision were symptoms of gas exposure.

In June, government investigators were sent to the Tara estate amid reports of gassy odours and health concerns.

There are five CSG wells inside the large estate and many more surrounding it.

While the investigation continues, Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton said more people were reporting symptoms.

‘They’re ringing in saying their whole family is sick,’ he told AAP.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) says it has only been made aware of one mother, Debbie Orr, who is claiming health problems at Tara.

The pregnant mother of five, who runs a support group, says at least 19 other families have experienced the same symptoms as her children.

An APPEA spokesman says Ms Orr has refused gas industry offers to provide medical assessments.

He says gas and air sampling by the state government last year found insignificant levels or no trace of volatile organic compounds or heavy metals at gas fields across Queensland, including at Tara.

Ms Orr has called for an independent health study and says many are afraid to speak up against a powerful lucrative industry.

‘There’s just too many of us with the same symptoms,’ she said.

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