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Article about the limitations of the regulations in the USA.
Not directly about fracking . An article from the Lancet about Silica Dust , health effects and mining
“Unconventional natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania has accelerated over the past five years, and is unlikely to abate soon. Dairy farming is a large component of Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy. This study compares milk production, number of cows, and production per cow in counties with significant unconventional drilling activity to that in neighboring counties with less unconventional drilling activity, from 1996 through 2011. Milk production and milk cows decreased in most counties since 1996, with larger decreases occurring from 2007 through 2011 (when unconventional drilling increased substantially) in five counties with the most wells drilled compared to six adjacent counties with fewer than 100 wells drilled. While this descriptive study cannot draw a causal association between well drilling and decline in cows or milk production, given the importance of Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and the projected increase in unconventional natural gas drilling, further research to prevent unintended economic and public health consequences is imperative.”
Spanish article on the health impacts of Fracking
“Public health was not brought into discussions about shale gas extraction at earlier stages; in consequence, the health system finds itself lacking critical information about environmental and public health impacts of the technologies and unable to address concerns by regulators at the federal and state levels, communities, and workers…. —Institute of Medicine at the National Academies of Science”
“Adam Law, M.D., interviewed Anthony R. Ingraffea, Ph.D., P.E., as part of a
series of interviews funded by the Heinz Endowment. Dr. Ingraffea is the
Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, and has
taught structural mechanics, finite element methods, and fracture mechanics
at Cornell for 33 years. He discusses issues related to hydraulic fracturing,
including inherent risks, spatial intensity, and the importance of a multidisciplinary
organization in establishing a chain of evidence.”
“This report documents an investigation during February and March 2013 by a concerned General Practitioner, in relation to health complaints by people living in close proximity to coal seam gas development in SW Queensland.”
“Safety and health management is one of the vital constituents of Oil and Gas industry activities because most of the operational conditions, chemicals and end products (hydrocarbons and other compounds) associated with Oil and Gas production are well-known to pose serious safety and health threats to the workers”
Editorial about the hazards of Silica .
“Natural gas has become a leading source of alternative energy with the advent of techniques to economically extract gas reserves from deep shale formations. Here, we present an assessment of private well water quality in aquifers overlying the Barnett Shale formation of North Texas. We evaluated samples from 100 private drinking water wells using analytical chemistry techniques. Analyses revealed that arsenic, selenium, strontium and total dissolved solids (TDS) exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL) in some samples from private water wells located within 3 km of active natural gas wells. Lower levels of arsenic, selenium, strontium, and barium were detected at reference sites outside the Barnett Shale region as well as sites within the Barnett Shale region located more than 3 km from active natural gas wells. Methanol and ethanol were also detected in 29% of samples. Samples exceeding MCL levels were randomly distributed within areas of active natural gas extraction, and the spatial patterns in our data suggest that elevated constituent levels could be due to a variety of factors including mobilization of natural constituents, hydrogeochemical changes from lowering of the water table, or industrial accidents such as faulty gas well casings.”
“Evidence of the negative human and ecologic health effects of fracking are emerging, and it should be noted that sufficient evidence has been presented to the ANA, the American Public Health Association,and the American Medical Association’s Resident and Fellow Section to result in a call for a moratorium on the issuance of new fracking permits nationally.Nurses’ voices in our communities, in state legislatures, in Congress, and with the EPA can help to keep health issues front and center as we address national energy needs and policies.”
Evidence of the negative human and ecologic
health effects of fracking are emerging, and it should
be noted that sufficient evidence has been presented
to the ANA, the American Public Health Association,
and the American Medical Association’s Resident
and Fellow Section to result in a call for a moratorium
on the issuance of new fracking permits nationally.
Nurses’ voices in our communities, in state
legislatures, in Congress, and with the EPA can help
to keep health issues front and center as we address
national energy needs and policies. (more…)
Report from Greenpeace about risks from Fracking.
“Researchers found that the 12 chemicals tested all disrupted the activity of both female and male sex hormones. It also found that water taken from “fracking regions” had higher levels of hormone-disrupting activity than water taken from non-fracking areas.
Some experts say the risk to public health is very small if fracking is carried out properly. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals are already found in the environment, but at certain levels they can interfere with human hormones.
The study’s findings are of concern, but inconclusive. We can’t currently say that if these endocrine-disrupting chemicals leach into water supplies they will end up being consumed by people in quantities that will cause damage. Further research is needed on this important issue.”
“This report assesses existing research to address the question of whether unconventional gas should be endorsed as a major future energy source, based on its impacts on human health and the climate.
There is considerable lack of information and uncertainty around the health impacts of unconventional gas extraction. However, the potential health impacts associated with fracking chemicals used for extracting unconventional gas are serious. They include cancer, skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, damage to the nervous system, cells and blood, endocrine disruption and reproductive problems.”
“Pennsylvania’s natural gas boom has brought thousands of new gas wells, a number of transient workers and a host of social problems. Food & Water Watch found that traffic accidents, civic disturbances and public health problems in rural Pennsylvania counties have increased since the shale rush began in 2005, diminishing the quality of life for residents of once-bucolic communities. “
“Their concern is that a deliberately created geological disturbance may create fresh pathways for hazardous gases, including radon. Such gases would not necessarily be collected with the shale gas, but could find a way to the surface. It is suggested that the very depth of the wells and the fracturing may have the effect of producing a ‘cone effect’ of emissions, causing a wider area to be at risk on the surface with certain types of geology.”
“There’s little practical experience of shale gas exploration in the UK and as yet no definition of Best
Available Techniques (BAT). This Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) helps us understand the
important environmental risks and supports aspects of our technical guidance for onshore oil and
“This report describes a previously uncharacterized occupational health hazard: work crew exposures to respirable crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing involves high pressure injection of large volumes of water and sand, and smaller quantities of well treatment chemicals, into a gas or oil well to fracture shale or other rock formations, allowing more efficient recovery of hydrocarbons from a petroleum-bearing reservoir. Crystalline silica (“fracsand”) is commonly used as a proppant to hold open cracks and fissures created by hydraulic pressure. Each stage of the process requires hundreds of thousands of pounds of quartz containing sand; millions of pounds may be needed for all zones of a well. Mechanical handling of frac sand creates respirable crystalline silica dust, a potential exposure hazard for workers. Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health collected 111 personal breathing zone samples at 11 sites in five states to evaluate worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing. At each of the 11 sites, full-shift samples exceeded occupational health criteria (e.g., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration calculated permissible exposure limit, the NIOSH recommended exposure limit, or the ACGIH threshold limit value), in some cases, by 10 or more times the occupational health criteria. Based on these evaluations, an occupational health hazard was determined to exist for workplace exposures to crystalline silica. Seven points of dust generation were identified, including sand handling machinery and dust generated from the work site itself. Recommendations to control exposures include product substitution (when feasible), engineering controls or modifications to sand handling machinery, administrative controls, and use of personal protective equipment. To our knowledge, this represents the first systematic study of work crew exposures to crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing. Companies that conduct hydraulic fracturing using silica sand should evaluate their operations to determine the potential for worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica and implement controls as necessary to protect workers.”