New US study: fracking gas related to severe impacts on animal and human health

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 January 2012

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham said today that a new study into the health impacts of gas extraction on humans and animals highlights the need for precaution before opening up NSW to the risks associated with unconventional gas extraction, such as coal seam gas.

Pilliga contamination with bottle

A tarry substance near coal seam gas operations in the Pilliga Forest NSW

The study: Impacts of gas drilling on human and animals health by Dr Michelle Bamberger and Professor Robert E Oswald, published in New Solutions: a journal of environmental and occupational health policy published by the University of Massachusetts, investigates a number of animal and health incidents related to gas extraction in six US states.  It found that stock and domestic animals died, got sick or had a higher number of still births and deformities when exposed to chemicals emanating from gas extraction.

“This study should be heeded by policy makers in Australia. The study finds a concerning correlation between contamination and severe health effects on both animals and humans,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Many of the methods, chemicals and techniques used in US conventional and unconventional gas extraction are the same as those used in Australia with coal seam gas.

“The last thing farmers need is another risk to the health and productivity of their livestock because of chemicals related and released by a coal seam gas industry.

“The precautionary principle must be implemented when it comes to coal seam gas.  The risks are far too high and the consequences too great to unleash this industry in NSW.

“This is a heavy industry, using and extracting potentially harmful industrial chemicals on farms, in our forests and even near homes in our cities.

“I’ve already seen tracts of dead trees where coal seam gas water has leaked through the environment in the Pilliga Forest.  Recent reports of further spills and tree kills in this area are concerning.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

See also the National Toxics Network Australia media release.

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