Friday, June 7, 2013

Duelling Rail Corridor Coal Dust Studies Confuses Community

THE latest of three local (Newcastle, Australia) rail-corridor studies on coal dust was released last week. I published an opinion piece on the confusion these duelling dust studies are causing in the community.
The first study was released by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in October 2012. It had multiple limitations and was dismissed by community activists. Under the auspices of the Coal Terminal Action Group (CTAG), they responded by designing and conducting their own community-funded study of coal dust in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter coal train corridor.
The community study also had multiple limitations including - according to Professor Howard Bridgman, the consultant to the study - an inability to reliably calibrate the particle monitors.
Now the ARTC has released the third study of coal dust in the rail corridor. CTAG has dismissed this and says it will begin fund-raising to conduct a fourth study.
Many members of the community are confused by the duelling claims of health impacts and the uncertainty surrounding each of the studies. Uncertainty about health impacts is itself a source of psychological stress and a cause of poor health. More here

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