Public health concerns over chemicals from mining industry

Date: May 27, 2014

According to a letter to the Medical Journal of Australia, the coal-seam gas industry could be presenting health concerns to the public.

However, the industry is playing down the risk, said Associate Professor Marion Carey from Monash University and other colleagues from around the country.

In a recent case in NSW, high levels of uranium and heavy metals were found in water near a pond which holds the by-product of gas mining. This contaminated water could spread into waterways and impact on local soil, which means drinking water and food products could be affected.

Public in Wyoming, USA were also advised recently to avoid well water for drinking and cooking after chemicals and fluids were found near an aquifer supplying a gas-field.

Professor Carey explained to the ABC that AGL is looking to drill coal-seam gas wells near Gloucester in the Hunter Valley, and said testing and safety concerns need to be investigated before any new projects.

“We were pointing out that perhaps there isn’t enough information yet about the threats to food and water security from unconventional gas,” she said.

“The message would be that unconventional gas mining poses very poorly assessed risks to food and water security and health and really there are significant knowledge gaps and we need to employ the precautionary principal where there is insufficient knowledge and we need to get more information before we go full speed ahead on these sorts of industries,” she said.

Although in the NSW example, the food chain was not exposed to contaminated water, it does pose the question that one day someone will consume this water and become very sick. Professor Carey and her colleagues said these findings show the potential for contamination, which is enough evidence to halt planning.

“We cannot yet be certain that all contaminants will be removed by current treatment processes.” the letter read.

“Australian doctors have been raising these and other health concerns about the risks of unconventional gas for some time.”

Public liability in NSW

If you had strong evidence that your water is polluted or contaminated, or if you or your family became sick from ingesting this water, you could be eligible for injury compensation.

After alerting relevant health authorities to prevent anymore people becoming sick, it is important to contact a GMP compensation lawyer that can assess your case and work through your options.

These lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis, so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it’s completely up to you whether you engage their services.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.