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Report finds
coal extraction and combustion
presents health risks
media release
as a pdf

A report has found that people living close to coal extraction and combustion processes are at risk of negative impacts to their health and community. In particular, open-cut coal extraction is bad news for the elderly and children.

'The Health and Social Impacts of Coal Report' was launched Monday 29th October 2012 by Professor Ian Olver AM CEO of the Australian Cancer Council. Over 100 people attended the event that was held at the Medical Foundation Auditorium, The University of Sydney.

The University's Health and Sustainability Unit explored and reported on the local and international evidence about the health and social impacts of coal extraction and combustion on people living in nearby communities. The key finding is:

"There are clear indications from the international health research literature that there are serious health and social harms associated with coal mining and coal‐fired power stations for people living in surrounding communities."

"The findings in this report are alarming on two levels. One, because everything people fear about their health has been confirmed, and two, because the government's response is utterly lacking," says Justin McKee of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.

"Whilst the NSW government has put in place a dust monitoring program in the Hunter, unless something is done with the results people around the entire state will continue to get sick. "This is another report released in Australia telling us the same message: communities within close proximity to coal extraction and coal combustion processes are at risk.

"Failure to respond leaves the government responsible for the adverse health outcomes we are seeing."

"Residents of Cullen Bullen have spoken very loudly and clearly to the Planning and Assessment Commission on the Coalpac Consolidation Project: They do not want to see an expansion to the breakdown of their local environment, their local community or their health. This report back's up why it should not go ahead. All three would be broken down.

"An approval would only improve the quality of life for the owners in Melbourne, the Libermann family, while the local residents see theirs systematically destroyed," says Mr. McKee.

Media Contact: Justin McKee 0404 824 020

Link to Report:

Background briefing:

Summary of key findings for Research Question 1 – Health harms

Adults in coal mining communities have been found to have:

Children and infants in coal mining communities have been found to have:

Adults (and whole population) in communities near coal‐fired power stations and coal combustion facilities have been found to have:

Children, infants, and fetal outcomes in communities near coal‐fired power stations and coal combustion facilities have been found to have:

Link to Report:

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