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Today: Health Professionals Call on NSW Government to Phase Out Gas

Healthy Futures 3 mins read

 


Today: Health Professionals Call on NSW Government to Phase Out Gas

Health professionals will gather today outside NSW Parliament to deliver an open letter signed by the Australian Medical Association NSW Branch, two medical colleges, the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association and nineteen other health organisations calling for gas in homes and public buildings to be replaced with renewable electricity to protect health. Collectively these organisations represent over 100,000 Australian health professionals.

Led by Healthy Futures and Doctors for the Environment Australia, the open letter warns that gas poses serious risks to human health, including worsening asthma, carbon monoxide poisoning and extreme weather related to climate change.

The letter requests that the NSW government follow the lead of Victoria and the ACT by phasing out new gas connections to homes by 2025 at the latest, support households on low incomes to replace gas with electricity and commit to electrifying all public and government buildings.

The full letter is viewable at www.healthyfutures.net.au/gasfreensw

Dr Michael Bonning, President of AMA NSW, said: “Indoor gas causes known harm to health by creating toxic volatile compounds; this is a real public health challenge that we have to address. The AMA supports common-sense reforms that protect the health of the community against known harms.”  

Professor Charlotte Hespe, Chair of the RACGP NSW&ACT Faculty, said: “We need Governments to actively decrease Greenhouse gases, which we know are a major driver of climate change and adverse health outcomes. Every Australian’s health is adversely affected by these changes increasing the risk of potentially deadly heatwaves, bushfires and storms, affecting food and water supplies and increasing the spread of infectious diseases.

Dr Kim Loo, a Sydney general practitioner and member of the Doctors for the Environment Australia NSW Branch Committee, said: “We need the NSW Government to act now to protect our health and our environment. The time to phase out fossil gas is now.”

Dr Ben Ewald, a general practitioner and epidemiologist in Newcastle, said “Gas used to be seen as a clean heat source, but there is now strong medical evidence that the combustion products from gas stoves can cause asthma, especially in children. Exposure to the fumes from indoor gas appliances should be minimised by improving ventilation, and getting rid of gas appliances whenever this is possible.”

Sydney-based nurse Ms Sarah Ellyard explained, “I signed onto the letter because gas is a health hazard in our homes, increasing the risk of asthma and exposure to toxic benzene and carbon monoxide. Furthermore, the extraction and burning of gas poses unacceptable risks to communities and is driving the climate crisis, which is a health emergency.”

Action details:

  • Where: NSW Parliament steps, 6 Macquarie St, Sydney

  • When: Tuesday September 12, at 12:45pm - 1:30pm

What: Healthcare workers gather outside New South Wales Parliament to send the State Government a strong message that gas use is harmful to health.

Visuals: Healthcare workers in professional dress on Parliament steps with a “Gas-Free Healthy Homes” banner and placards with logos of supporting health organisations.

 

Key facts:

  • Indoor pollution from gas appliances causes and exacerbates asthma and other illnesses and can even cause death (1).

  • Pollution from gas stoves has been estimated to account for 12% of the childhood asthma burden in Australia (2).

  • A child living in a house with a gas stove faces roughly 30% increased risk of asthma (3). This is comparable to a child living with household cigarette smoke (4,5).

 

Open Letter to Minister Penny Sharpe MP, NSW Minister for Climate Change, Energy and Environment: www.healthyfutures.net.au/gasfreensw

Images and video will be available on the day

 

Available for interview:

  • Dr Ben Ewald, general practitioner and epidemiologist, current member, NSW Doctors for the Environment Australia

  • Dr Kim Loo, general practitioner and member of the NSW Branch of Doctors for the Environment Australia, AMA NSW Council, AMA NSW GP Council, RACGP NSW/ACT Council and Chair Hills Doctors Association

  • Associate Professor Kate McBride, President of the Public Health Association of Australia NSW Branch

 

Media enquiries: Bronwyn McDonald 0408 477 403


References

[1] https://www1.racgp.org.au/ajgp/2022/december/health-risks-from-indoor-gas-appliances

[2]https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/208/7/damp-housing-gas-stoves-and-burden-childhood-asthma-australia

[3] https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/42/6/1724/737113?login=false

[4] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2016.03.060

[5] https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.10155

 

 


Key Facts:

Key facts:

  • Indoor pollution from gas appliances causes and exacerbates asthma and other illnesses and can even cause death (1).

  • Pollution from gas stoves has been estimated to account for 12% of the childhood asthma burden in Australia (2).

  • A child living in a house with a gas stove faces roughly 30% increased risk of asthma (3). This is comparable to a child living with household cigarette smoke (4,5).


About us:

Healthy Futures is an organisation of healthcare workers and community members advocating to limit the health impacts of pollution and climate change. More info at www.healthyfutures.net.au


Contact details:

Bronwyn McDonald, NSW Healthy Futures Campaigner 0408 477 403

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