A three-day expert working group meeting from May 22 to 24, has provided important information for GISERA’s human health impacts on CSG project which is investigating potential designs of a future study.
The purpose of the workshop was to share information and insights from a range of health and technical experts on the elements needed in a study of the potential human exposures, health risks and potential health effects of CSG activities.
The workshop was attended by 36 participants from research and government organisations including CSIRO, Queensland Government, NSW Government and several universities. The dynamic agenda for the workshop saw a mixture of plenary and group discussions on various topics including: exploring stakeholder perspectives; factors to consider to ensure study outcomes are relevant to and accepted by community and other stakeholders; hazard Identification; non-chemical stressors; risk assessment and health study approaches and methodologies.
This workshop is one of a series of activities the project team is using to gather information that will be used to formulate studies to investigate the potential health impacts of CSG activity. Other activities include a review of the state of knowledge about health impacts of CSG activity, identification of gaps in the knowledge base, and wider consultation.
Feedback from the Brisbane workshop will help inform the study design, along with a literature review to provide a current picture of the state of knowledge and identification of knowledge gaps regarding potential contaminants and human health risks.
Input into the study design will also be sought from community, industry, and government stakeholders. Over a six-week period, from mid-July until the end of August, the project team will be taking the draft study design out to these stakeholders and seeking their feedback and further input.
The project team of eight researchers includes CSIRO scientists and members of the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences (QAEHS), incorporating the former National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox) from the University of Queensland, and researchers from the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland’s Centre for Coal Seam Gas.
The project is responding to the ongoing concerns raised in some communities about possible health effects related to CSG and is due for completion later this year.