Documentation

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An Exploratory Study of Air Quality near Natural Gas Operations

Air Pollution, Peer Reviewed

Abstract

This exploratory study was designed to assess air quality in a rural western Colorado area where residences and gas wells co-exist. Sampling was conducted before, during, and after drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a new natural gas well pad. Weekly air sampling for 1 year revealed that the number of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) and their concentrations were highest during the initial drilling phase and did not increase during hydraulic fracturing in this closed-loop system. Methylene chloride, a toxic solvent not reported in products used in drilling or hydraulic fracturing, was detected 73% of the time; several times in high concentrations. A literature search of the health effects of the NMHCs revealed that many had multiple health effects, including 30 that affect the endocrine system, which is susceptible to chemical impacts at very low concentrations, far less than government safety standards. Selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were at concentrations greater than those at which prenatally exposed children in urban studies had lower developmental and IQ scores. The human and environmental health impacts of the NMHCs, which are ozone precursors, should be examined further given that the natural gas industry is now operating in close proximity to human residences and public lands.

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List of the Harmed (ongoing)

Reports

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Gas fracking: can we safely squeeze the rocks?

Public Health, Reports, Worker Health

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Third Annual Health Effects of Shale Gas Extraction 2012

Videos

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APHA: The Environmental and Occupational Health Impacts of High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing of Unconventional Gas Reserves

Documentation, Public Health, Reports

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Gas Patch Roulette: How Shale Gas Development Risks Public Health in Pennsylvania

Reports

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Legislative Interference with the Patient–Physician Relationship

Peer Reviewed

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Summary Report: Human Health Risks and Exposure Pathways of Proposed Horizontal Hydrofracking in New York State

Public Health, Reports

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The Potential Health Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing

Videos
  • Part 1

  • Part 2

  • Part 3

  • Part 4

  • Part 5

  • Part 6

  • Part 7


Support to the identification of potential risks for the environment and human health arising from hydrocarbons operations involving hydraulic fracturing in Europe

Public Health, Reports

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Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Recommendations Concerning Shale Gas Development in New Brunswick

Public Health, Reports

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Health Concerns in the Era of Gas Drilling: A Basic Toolkit for Healthcare Providers

Videos
  • Health Concerns from Unconventional Gas Extraction – Leslie Walleigh MD, MPH

  • Water Case Study (#1) – Poune Saberi, MD

  • Air Case Study (#1) – Poune Saberi, MD

  • Testing and Treatment Case Study (#3) – Leslie Walleigh MD, MPH

  • Animal Exposures and Human Health Case Study (#4) – Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH

  • Occupational Exposures Case Study (#5) – Peter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH

     

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    Medical Toolkit



The potential near-source ozone impacts of upstream oil and gas industry emissions

Air Pollution, Peer Reviewed

Abstract

Increased drilling in urban areas overlying shale formations and its potential impact on human health through decreased air quality make it important to estimate the contribution of oil and gas activities to photochemical smog. Flares and compressor engines used in natural gas operations, for example, are large sources not only of NOx but also offormaldehyde, a hazardous air pollutant and powerful ozone precursor We used a neighborhood scale (200 m horizontal resolution) three-dimensional (3D) air dispersion model with an appropriate chemical mechanism to simulate ozone formation in the vicinity ofa hypothetical natural gas processing facility, based on accepted estimates of both regular and nonroutine emissions. The model predicts that, under average midday conditions in June, regular emissions mostly associated with compressor engines may increase ambient ozone in the Barnett Shale by more than 3 ppb beginning at about 2 km downwind of the facility, assuming there are no other major sources of ozone precursors. Flare volumes of 100,000 cubic meters per hour ofnatural gas over a period of 2 hr can also add over 3 ppb to peak 1-hr ozone somewhatfurther (>8 km) downwind, once dilution overcomes ozone titration and inhibition by large flare emissions of NOx. The additional peak ozone from the hypothetical flare can briefly exceed 10 ppb about 16 km downwind. The enhancements of ambient ozone predicted by the model are significant, given that ozone control strategy widths are of the order of a few parts per billion. Degrading the horizontal resolution of the model to 1 km spuriously enhances the simulated ozone increases by reducing the effectiveness of ozone inhibition and titration due to artificial plume dilution.

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Water pollution risk associated with natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale

Peer Reviewed, Water Contamination

Abstract

Environmental concerns surrounding drilling for gas are intense due to expansion of shale gas drilling operations. Controversy surrounding the impact of drilling on air and water quality has pitted industry and lease-holders against individuals and groups concerned with environmental protection and public health. Because animals often are exposed continually to air, soil, and groundwater and have more frequent reproductive cycles, animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health. This study involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations. The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts. Complete evidence regarding health impacts of gas drilling cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing and disclosure of chemicals, and nondisclosure agreements. Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale.
© 2012 Society for Risk Analysis.

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Geochemical evidence for possible natural migration of Marcellus Formation brine to shallow aquifers in Pennsylvania

Peer Reviewed, Water Contamination

Abstract

The debate surrounding the safety of shale gas development in the Appalachian Basin has generated increased awareness of drinking water quality in rural communities. Concerns include the potential for migration of stray gas, metal-rich formation brines, and hydraulic fracturing and/or flowback fluids to drinking water aquifers. A critical question common to these environmental risks is the hydraulic connectivity between the shale gas formations and the overlying shallow drinking water aquifers. We present geochemical evidence from northeastern Pennsylvania showing that pathways, unrelated to recent drilling activities, exist in some locations between deep underlying formations and shallow drinking water aquifers. Integration of chemical data (Br, Cl, Na, Ba, Sr, and Li) and isotopic ratios ((87)Sr/(86)Sr, (2)H/H, (18)O/(16)O, and (228)Ra/(226)Ra) from this and previous studies in 426 shallow groundwater samples and 83 northern Appalachian brine samples suggest that mixing relationships between shallow ground water and a deep formation brine causes groundwater salinization in some locations. The strong geochemical fingerprint in the salinized (Cl > 20 mg/L) groundwater sampled from the Alluvium, Catskill, and Lock Haven aquifers suggests possible migration of Marcellus brine through naturally occurring pathways. The occurrences of saline water do not correlate with the location of shale-gas wells and are consistent with reported data before rapid shale-gas development in the region; however, the presence of these fluids suggests conductive pathways and specific geostructural and/or hydrodynamic regimes in northeastern Pennsylvania that are at increased risk for contamination of shallow drinking water resources, particularly by fugitive gases, because of natural hydraulic connections to deeper formations.

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NIOSH Field Effort to Assess Chemical Exposures in Oil and Gas Workers: Health Hazards in Hydraulic Fracturing

Reports, Worker Health

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Methane sampling Report of Leroy Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania

Reports

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Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing

Reports, Worker Health

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Fracking and Public Health

Reports

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The Health Impact Assessment of New Energy Sources: Shale Gas Extraction

Videos

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