DEA - Doctors for the environment

“Coal a Health Hazard” Say Doctors


Health advocate against tobacco, Dr Kingsley Faulkner has turned his sights on coal as a major direct and indirect health hazard.
"Australia is addicted to coal and we need to embrace alternatives to our reliance on it, as it is making many of us sick." said Dr Faulkner.

A surgeon, ex-President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and currently Vice- President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Dr Faulkner is perhaps an unlikely anti-coal campaigner.

"Coal is a major contributor to climate change which has now become the greatest health threat facing human kind and I am committed to addressing this vital issue" he said. "I am currently Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia a highly respected medical group whose aim is to emphasise the dependence of our health on our environment."

Doctors for the Environment Australia's 'Coal is a health hazard' poster will be received by 22,000 General Practitioners tomorrow. The aim is for it to be placed in surgeries and waiting rooms across the country educating medical professionals and patients on the health effects of coal. These include heart disease, lung cancer, asthma and stroke. The poster will accompany the 25 November issue of GP weekly newspaper Medical Observer. The issue also includes an opinion piece by Dr Helen Redmond on the health risks associated with coal.

"Many people are unaware that the toxins and compounds produced when coal is burnt include mercury, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides and fine, soot-like particles which penetrate deep into our lungs" explained Dr Faulkner.
"This means that coal pollution doesn't just cause lung diseases but can also effect our heart causing sudden death in vulnerable people".

“The annual health costs from coal fired power station local air emissions, excluding
greenhouse gases have been estimated to be $2.6 billion in Australia, according to a 2009 report from the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. This makes coal an expensive, as well as harmful, form of power generation” he said.

Doctors for the Environment Australia is a voluntary organisation of medical practitioners who advocate that a change from coal generated power to renewable sources is vital to ensure that the health standards of present and future generations can be maintained.


For Dr Helen Redmond’s article see:

For poster see:


For more information:

- Dr Kingsley Faulkner, WA
0419 936 677

- Dr George Crisp, WA

0422 057 351 or

- Dr David Shearman, SA

08 8339 3972

- Dr Eugenie Kayak, VIC

0419 685 574

- Dr Helen Redmond, NSW

 0414 229 089

Go Back | Posted in: Media ReleasesOpinion & Commentary | 27 November 2011 - Benjamin