An independent health survey in the Tara rural residential estates and environsDr Geralyn McCarron MB BCh BAO FRACGP email@example.com
The unconventional gas industry has been allowed rapid, unprecedented expansion in Queensland within recent years with little regard to the public health consequences. The people of the remote rural residential estates on the Western Downs near Tara in Queensland are suffering from the side-effects of the industry. Despite their pleas over the past few years to successive Queensland Governments, as illustrated in the recently released Queensland Government health report into the effects of CSG in the Tara region, their reports of ill health have been trivialised or ignored.
Conversely this study found a pattern of symptoms which is extremely concerning. In particular a high percentage of the residents surveyed had symptoms which could relate to neurotoxicity. These included tingling, paraesthesiai, numbness, headaches, difficulty concentrating and extreme fatigue. Of particular concern was the high percentage of symptomatic children, with paraesthesia being reported in approximately a third (15/48) of children to age 18, and headaches being reported in more than 70% (36/48). These symptoms deserve further investigation, something which has not been done adequately to date. If these symptoms are caused by living within a gas field, there are serious implications not only for this community but for many more across Australia. If the health implications of the unconventional gas industry continue to be ignored and the industry is allowed to develop along its current path, the potential exists for serious and widespread harm to human health across Austral