142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Extracting wealth, undermining health: The impact of oil, gas and mining on global health

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Noah Gottschalk , Oxfam America, Washington, DC
Sofia Vergara , Extractive Industries Program, Oxfam America, Boston, MA
Sarah Kalloch , Oxfam America, Boston, MA
Many poor countries face a resource curse: They should be rich, but because they rely heavily on resources like oil and gold, they suffer from poverty, corruption, unrest, poor health, environment degradation and human rights violations. Too often, local communities have no say in the extraction of resources from their land and receive few benefits from these projects. Oxfam seeks to ensure that communities have a right to say if, and therefore how, oil, gas, and mining projects are carried out. These projects should not add to poverty and powerlessness; they should help communities overcome these challenges as part of an environmentally and socially responsible form of development.

This presentation begins with an overview of public health challenges faced by communities in oil, gas and mining rich areas. These impacts include land grabs, which undermine food security, and environmental contamination and toxic pollution, both of which have a disproportionate impact on indigenous communities.

It will then discuss two case studies. The first study looks at Doe Run in La Oroya, Peru, one of the most contaminated places in the world. The presentation will discuss the environmental health impacts of the smelter, including very high levels of lead in children, and the community campaign to shut down the smelter, which included advocacy from US communities also impacted by Doe Run's US operations. The second explores the emerging campaign in Ghana to ensure oil profits are invested in building agricultural capacity, thus ensuring revenue will support food security and public health.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the impact oil, gas and mining operations can have on environmental and public health around the world Discuss 2 different strategies communities have employed to reverse the resource curse

Keyword(s): Environmental Health, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior policy advisor at Oxfam America, which has a global extractive industries program which examines community rights, health and development impacts of oil, gas and mining.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.