Doctors have urged people living near the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine to get their health checked now to compare in the future.
David King, a Doctors for the Environment Australia member, Brisbane-based GP and senior lecturer at the University of Queensland’s school of medicine, said residents that may be exposed to the Carmichael mine, as well as the train lines servicing the operation, need a baseline to compare their health in the future, in case they become unwell when the mine is in full swing.
“I certainly would, because if I developed problems I could more easily prove it wasn’t from my exposure to something else 20 or 30 years ago,” he said in a Fairfax Media report.
Another DEA member, Mackay-based paediatrician Michael Williams, said not enough had been done to measure the potential health impact of the mine, which is expected to produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year.
“Coal miners are at increased risk of occupational accidents from exposure to coal dust, which is highlighted by the re-emergence of ‘black lung’ in the Bowen Basin, Windborne invisible coal particles are also a risk to a wider population,” Dr Williams said.
He said exposure to pollution from coal even at low levels is linked to a range of serious and potentially fatal illnesses such as heart and respiratory diseases, including lung cancer.
The Adani mine was approved last year with the “strictest conditions ever” handed down.
In an ABC News report last week, it was revealed that there is no monitoring of air pollution in Central Queensland with residents and community members unaware their health could be suffering.
Emerald GP Ewen McPhee said “As a doctor, you see people with asthma, you see people with a lot of allergic problems… but you also see people with heart disease, you see people with chronic lung problems, and it’s not just bad luck,” Emerald GP Ewen McPhee said on the report.
“If we put our head in the sand and we ignore it, then we won’t find problems until people are actually suffering significant illnesses.”
The State Government operates just one air quality monitoring station in Moranbah, with no plans to roll out more in the region.
“It’s important for everyone to make sure that these things are monitored – that people have an understanding of what the levels are so that they can make decisions about their own health, their families health,” Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire said.