The Tara residential estate in south-west Queensland has been surrounded and encroached upon by a coal seam gas production field. A survey of 113 people living in 38 households in the Tara area, conducted by a Qld doctor, found that many of them were experiencing health problems which they believe are caused by coal seam gas activities. Some 58% of residents surveyed reported that their health was definitely adversely affected by CSG, whilst a further 19% were uncertain.
Some of the symptoms noted include nose bleeds, burning and irritated eyes, skin rashes, headaches, coughs, nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing and dermatitis. Children are particularly sensitive to these symptoms and some children have also experienced unexplained seizures. It is well recognised that a range of hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds can be released into the air from unconventional gas activities, and the symptoms experienced in Tara are relatively consistent with those effects.
Other medical tests of Tara residents and air samples taken in the gasfield have further heightened concerns that coal seam gas is making people sick. A medical test found high levels of hippuric acid in a young boy, indicating a possible exposure to toluene which is a chemical found in petroleum products. This follows air samples taken by residents near the gasfield which found high levels of propene and acetone.