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The risks of oil and gas development for human health and wellbeing: a synthesis of evidence and implications for Australia

Fracking Environmental impacts Fossil fuels Oil Public health Child health Natural gas Coal seam gas Australia

The purpose of this report is to provide the Australian community and decision-makers with a synthesis of the now extensive evidence demonstrating multiple direct and indirect health and wellbeing risks from oil and gas developments. It responds to a request from deeply concerned paediatricians about proposed shale gas development of the Beetaloo Basin, and processing facilities at the proposed Middle Arm Precinct in Darwin Harbour.

The report identifies and discusses an extensive body of recent, peer-reviewed scientific and public health literature on five areas of extreme concern, namely:

  1. the procedural risks posed by oil and gas operations to biodiversity, water and food security
  2. contributions to the climate emergency
  3. the vast array of potentially harmful chemicals involved
  4. contamination pathways into water and air, and
  5. resulting physical, social, emotional, spiritual health losses associated with extensive disruption of life near oil and gas fields and its sprawling infrastructure.

The report also highlights the cultural and spiritual harms reported by Aboriginal Australians in the alleged poor adherence to the right to free, prior and informed consent to these operations on their traditional lands.

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