03 Dec 2013

The latest update in a long-running major health study reaffirms that exposure to oil and gas products poses little risk to people.

Yesterday, Monash University released the results of the Australian Institute of Petroleum’s 14th Health Watch Report.

This study – which has run for more than 33 years – clearly shows that petroleum industry employees have better health than the general Australian community and are less likely to die from cancer and from heart, respiratory and digestive diseases.

The report shows that the chance of developing most types of cancer is no different for men and women in the petroleum industry than it is for other Australians and the overall cancer death rates in the petroleum industry workforce are 30 per cent lower than in the general Australian population.

APPEA welcomes this study, which it believes will reassure many people who have been concerned by claims made in recent fear campaigns about the safety of natural gas operations.

Natural gas is commonly used in households all over Australia with no evidence that it is a health risk. With neither workers nor householders experiencing ill-effects from exposure to natural gas, there is no reason to assume that living near a gas well exposes residents to health risks.

The Health Watch study provides robust scientific evidence for the community to understand the health impacts of exposure to petroleum products.

Since 1980, the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP) has sponsored the independent Health Watch study to monitor the health of 20,000 past and current employees who have been exposed to oil and natural gas in the course of their daily work.

Health Watch tracks the long-term health of these people, both during their industry employment and after they leave or retire. It uses a detailed analysis of job types, workplace practices, lifestyle influences, and illness and causes of death. The health of petroleum industry employees is then compared with data for the Australian community.

The 14th Health Watch Report was undertaken by the Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, a leading international centre for epidemiological programs and collaborative research at Monash University.

The 14th Health Watch Report can be downloaded from the AIP website.

For more information on health issues and oil and gas operations, see this webpage.