2015

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  • The Energy Footprint: How Oil, Natural Gas and Wind Energy Affect Land for Biodiversity and the Ecosystem Services

    Not directly related to Fracking but about the impact and consequences of expanding  energy systems . 

  • As Fracking Booms,Dearth of Health Risk Data Remains

    Article from the School of Public Health, University of California

  • Safeguarding human health in the anthropocene epoch:report of the Rockerfeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health

    Not directly fracking but an interesting article about the new  discipline of Planetary Health 

  • Elevated Atmospheric Levels of Benzene and Benzene-Related Compounds from Unconventional Shale Extraction and Processing_ Human Health Concern for Residential Communities

    “Benzene is a known human carcinogen capable of multisystem health effects. Exposure to benzene is correlated with bone marrow and blood-forming organ damage and immune system depression. Sensitive populations (children, pregnant women, elderly, immunocompromised) and occupational workers are at increased risk for adverse health effects from elevated atmospheric levels of benzene[s] in residential areas with unconventional
    shale E&P.”

  • Public Health England’s troubled trail

    “PHE was created as an “operationally autonomous executive agency” of the Department of Health on 1 April 2013, when responsibility for public health passed to local authorities. Its function is to “protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities” by providing government, local government, the NHS, public health professionals, and the public with “evidence-based professional, scientific and delivery expertise and advice.”1 2 In the two and a half years since then, PHE has been embroiled in a series of controversies about the quality and credibility of advice it has issued on topics including fracking…”

  • Livestock Falling Ill In Fracking Regions

    Article about livestock in the USA  and risk of contaminants entering the food chain

  • Health professionals call for urgent halt to fracking because of public health concerns

    A letter calling for a stop fracking from a group,of senior doctors

  • Future of Gas in the UK

    “UK shale gas exploration and efforts to mitigate climate change have stimulated debate about the future of the natural gas sector. This briefing looks at potential future pathways for the sourcing and use of natural gas in the UK. It also considers the implications for the economy, energy prices, the reliability of energy supplies and efforts to cut emissions.”

  • Environmental Audit Committee Environmental Risks of Fracking :House of Commons briefing document

    “Despite the assurances from some that environmental risks can be safely accommodated by existing regulatory systems, an extensive range of uncertainties remains over particular hazards—to groundwater quality and water supplies, from waste and air emissions, to our health and to biodiversity, to the geological integrity of the areas involved, and from noise and disruption. Uncertainty about their significance is in part a reflection of the fact that fracking operations have yet to move beyond the exploratory stage in the UK. It is imperative that the environment is protected from potentially irreversible damage.”

  • Community Health And Shale Development Guidebook v1

    “With the recent boom in shale energy development in the United States, local public health officials and other stakeholders are often seeking information and guidance on the health issues that could accompany development in their communities. In response to that need, RESOLVE’s Solutions Network consulted with a multi-stakeholder working group to create this guidebook on the community health issues that may arise as a result of shale energy development.

    Our goal is for health officials, community members, and industry representatives to use this guidebook to 1) gain a basic factual understanding of the potential health issues, 2) easily access in-depth resources from a variety of perspectives, 1 and 3) learn about some options for responding to challenges. We hope that the guidebook will become a valued resource that provides a basis for stakeholders to engage in productive conversations around how to address the impacts and manage the benefits of development. To that end, we have included case examples in which companies and communities have worked together to find solutions to community concerns. This is a dynamic guidebook, to be updated as new information and case studies emerge.”

    http://solutions-network.org/site-communityhealthguidebook/

  • Counteracting the Politicization of Science

    “Few trends in science have generated as much discussion as its politicization. This occurs when an actor emphasizes the inherent uncertainty of science to cast doubt on the existence of scientific consensus. In this article, we offer a framework that generates predictions about when communications can be used to counteract politicization efforts aimed at novel energy technologies. We then present evidence from nationally representative survey experiments to demonstrate how warnings to dismiss future politicization and corrections to ignore past claims can counteract politicization’s effects.The results provide novel insights about science communication in a politicized era and offer a blueprint on which future work can build.”

  • A Fracking Fracas Demonstrates Movement Potential

    An article about the anti-fracking campaign in the USA by Brian Obach.

  • NAE Website – Microbial Ecology of Hydraulic Fracturing

    “Advances in drilling and stimulation technologies have greatly improved the economics of oil and gas production from deep, tight, hydrocarbon-rich shale formations. But the unconventional drilling required for this production is associated with challenges in the management of both the wastewater that is coproduced at the surface and the microbial communities in this water.”

  • Human Exposure to Unconventional Gas Exposure : A public health demonstration of
    periodic high exposure to chemical mixtures in ambient air.

    Directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale gas and oil bring industrial activity into close proximity to residences, schools, daycare centers and places where people spend their time. Multiple gas production sources can be sited near residences. Health care providers evaluating patient health need to know the chemicals present, the emissions from different sites and the intensity and frequency of the exposures. This research describes a hypothetical case study designed to provide a basic model that demonstrates the direct effect of weather on exposure patterns of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Because emissions from unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) sites are variable, a short term exposure profile is proposed that determines 6-hour assessments of emissions estimates, a time scale needed to assist physicians in the evaluation of individual exposures. The hypothetical case is based on observed conditions in shale gas development in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and on estimated emissions from facilities during gas development and production. An air exposure screening model was applied to determine the ambient concentration of VOCs and PM2.5 at different 6-hour periods of the day and night. Hourly wind speed, wind direction and cloud cover data from Pittsburgh International Airport were used to calculate the expected exposures. Fourteen months of daily observations were modeled. Higher than yearly average source terms were used to predict health impacts at periods when emissions are high. The frequency and intensity of exposures to PM2.5 and VOCs at a residence surrounded by three UNGD facilities was determined. The findings show that peak PM2.5 and VOC exposures occurred 83 times over the course of 14 months of well development. Among the stages of well development, the drilling, flaring and finishing, and gas production stages produced higher intensity exposures than the hydraulic fracturing stage. Over one year, compressor station emissions created 118 peak exposure levels and a gas processing plant produced 99 peak exposures over one year. The screening model identified the periods during the day and the specific weather conditions when the highest potential exposures would occur. The periodicity of occurrence of extreme exposures is similar to the episodic nature of the health complaints reported in Washington County and in the literature. This study demonstrates the need to determine the aggregate quantitative impact on health when multiple facilities are placed near residences, schools, daycare centers and other locations where people are present. It shows that understanding the influence of air stability and wind direction is essential to exposure assessment at the residential level. The model can be applied to other emissions and similar sites. Profiles such as this will assist health providers in understanding the frequency and intensity of the human exposures when diagnosing and treating patients living near unconventional natural gas development.

  • Long-term impacts of unconventional drilling

    Public health concerns related to the expansion of unconventional oil and gas drilling have sparked intense debate. In 2012, we published case reports of animals and humans affected by nearby drilling operations. Because of the potential for long-term effects of even low doses of environmental toxicants and the cumulative impact of exposures of multiple chemicals by multiple routes of exposure, a longitudinal study of these cases is necessary. Twenty-one cases from five states were followed longitudinally; the followup period averaged 25 months. In addition to humans, cases involved food animals, companion animals and wildlife. More than half of all exposures were related to drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations; these decreased slightly over time. More than a third of all exposures were associated with wastewater, processing and production operations; these exposures increased slightly over time. Health impacts decreased for families and animals moving from intensively drilled areas or remaining in areas where drilling activity decreased. In cases of families remaining in the same area and for which drilling activity either remained the same or increased, no change in health impacts was observed. Over the course of the study, the distribution of symptoms was unchanged for humans and companion animals, but in food animals, reproductive problems decreased and both respiratory and growth problems increased. This longitudinal case study illustrates the importance of obtaining detailed epidemiological data on the long-term health effects of multiple chemical exposures and multiple routes of exposure that are characteristic of the environmental impacts of unconventional drilling operations.

  • Just fracking_ a distributive environmental justice analysis of unconventional gas development in Pennsylvania, USA

    This letter presents a distributive environmental justice analysis of unconventional gas development in the area of Pennsylvania lying over the Marcellus Shale,the largest shale gas formation in play in the United States. The extraction of shale gas using unconventional wells,which are hydraulically fractured(fracking),has increased dramatically since 2005. As the number of wells has grown,so have concerns about the potential public health effects on nearby communities.These concerns make shale gas development an environmental  justice issue. This letter examines whether the hazards associated with proximity to wells and the economic benefits of shale gas production are fairly distributed.We distinguish two types of distributive environmental justice: traditional and benefit sharing. We ask the traditional question: are there a disproportionate number of minority or low-income residents in areas near to unconventional wells in Pennsylvania?However,we extend this analysis in two ways:we examine income distribution and level of education;and we compare before and after shale gas development.This contributes to discussions of benefit sharing by showing how the income distribution of the population has changed. We use a binary dasymetric technique to remap the data from the 2000 US Census and the 2009–2013 American Communities Survey and combine that data with a buffer containment analysis of un conventional wells to compare the characteristics of the population living nearer to unconventional wells with those further away before and after shale gas development.Our analysis indicates that there is no evidence of traditional distributive environmental injustice: there is not a disproportionate number of minority or low-income residents in areas near to unconventional wells.However,our analysis is consistent with the claim that there is benefit sharing distributive environmental injustice: the income distribution of the population nearer to shale gas  wells has not been transformed since shale gas development.

  • Ambient Air Pollution and Neurotoxicity on Brain Structure_ Evidence from Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study

    “…In this large-scale study of residential exposure to fine particles and human brain structure, we found that older women had smaller brain volumes especially in the normal-appearing WM if they resided in places with higher levels of long-term exposure to PM2.5 over 6–7 years preceding the brain MRI scans. The observed associations were not explained by demographic factors, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics we explored. These novel epidemiologic findings support the emerging concept that late-life exposure to ambient particulate air pollutants has a deleterious effect on brain aging…”

  • Proximity of petroleum wells to dwellings
    The following paper considers the use of statutory minimum distances (or setback) for
    the proximity of petroleum exploration wells (or exploration boreholes) to dwellings.
    The Committee previously considered correspondence from a stakeholder detailing
    minimum distances in England, Scotland, Texas and New South Wales. As requested
    by the Committee, this paper investigates the existence of these minimum distances
    and any in other jurisdictions e.g. across the UK, Republic of Ireland and United States
    of America. The table gives an overview of the areas considered, and it should be
    noted that the examples used are not exhaustive in any way. In relation to the United
    States of America, examples used were based on those with publically available
    information.

  • Adequacy of Current State Setbacks for Directional High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus, Barnett, and Niobrara Shale Plays
    “Discussion:The evidence suggests that presently utilized setbacks may leave the public
    vulnerable to explosions, radiant heat, toxic gas clouds, and air pollution from hydraulic
    fracturing activities.
    Conclusions: Our results suggest that setbacks may not be sufficient to reduce potential threats
    to human health in areas where hydraulic fracturing occurs. It is more likely that a combination
    of reasonable setbacks with controls for other sources of pollution associated with the process
    will be required.”

  • California’s Fracking Fluids,the Chemical Recipe EcoWatch 2015

    “The fluids used in hydraulic fracturing of oil wells in California contain dozens of chemicals that are hazardous to human health, including substances linked to cancer, reproductive harm and hormone disruption, an EWG analysis of state data shows.”

  • https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm

  • Breast Cancer UK Fact Sheet Fracking

    An easy to read leaflet from a breast cancer charity

  • ChemTrust-Fracking Briefing June 2015

    FRACKING POLLUTION:
    HOW TOXIC CHEMICALS FROM FRACKING COULD AFFECT
    WILDLIFE AND PEOPLE IN THE UK AND EU

  • Public Health England’s Troubled Trail  : Fracking and other criticisms

    This is an excerpt from a BMJ  article which was published in 2015  and  which  was critical of Public Health England , for ease of reading I have copied the excerpt about Fracking but the full reference us at the top of the page if you would like to read more.

  • Pennsylvania Studies link Fracking with Health Problems

    Easy read article summarising health impacts and quote from 2015…well there are even more studies now…
    “The more studies being done that show that there might be some health effects, the more likely it is that there might be some health effects associated with this,” McKenzie said.
  • The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking,report by Food and Water Watch USA 2015

    “As this report lays out, there is mounting evidence that fracking is inherently unsafe. Evidence builds that
    fracking contaminates water, pollutes air, threatens public health, causes earthquakes, harms local economies and
    decreases property values”

  • Food and Water Watch: The Urgent Case to Ban Fracking

    “In many ways, fracking is the environmental issue of our time. It’s an issue that touches on every aspect of our lives — the water we drink, the air we breathe, the health of our communities — and it is also impacting the global climate on which we all depend. It pits the largest corporate interests — big oil and gas companies and the political leaders who support them — against people and the environment in a long-term struggle for survival. It is an issue that has captivated the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and across the globe. And it is an area in which, despite the massive resources of the Frackopoly — the cabal of oil and gas interests promoting this practice — we as a movement are making tremendous strides as our collective power continues to grow.”

  • ChemTrust Report:Chemical Pollution from Fracking

    “While some research has demonstrated health impacts on local people, there are only few epidemiological studies available from the US and other countries which suggest that fracking sites are causing health effects. This is primarily due to the lack of detailed investigations and the difficulty of assessing the impacts of environmental
    exposures. However, based on current experience, there is a clear potential for fracking to cause serious incidents in the UK and Europe especially as fracking is likely to be positioned closer to people as population densities are higher than in the US.”

  • Predictors of Indoor Radon Concentrations in Pennsylvania, 1989–2013

    Radon continues to be a concern in Pennsylvania, and geology is an important contributor. Well water may contribute more to indoor radon than previously thought. There has also been a general rise in concentrations since 2006.The measurements of the Pennsylvania TENORM study should be periodically repeated given the projection of 60,000 wells in Pennsylvania by 2030 (Johnson 2010). Future studies of building radon levels should include more information about buildings, such as age, heating systems, remediation intervention, and radon-resistant construction. Radon exposure represents a major environmental health risk, and in addition to future studies to understand the impact of drilling on radon levels, there is continuing need for a radon program in Pennsylvania to track and evaluate radon concentrations and to encourage testing and remediation.”

  • Toxic Effects of Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing-Lorna Williamson

    This paper and the attached spreadsheets summarize the toxicity of 50 different chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, aka “fracking.” The chemicals selected are those most commonly used and/or showing the most significant health issues; chemicals are arranged in family groups relating to their chemical structures. An overview of the chemicals is presented in Table 1: Summary of Fracking Chemicals. The organ systems affected by these chemicals are shown in Table 2: Health Effects of Fracking Materials. In both Tables 1 and 2, Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) numbers are given for easier cross-referencing. Additionally, more detailed health effects are described for a limited number of the chemicals or chemical classes listed in Table 1″

  • Malignant human cell transformation of Marcellus Shale gas drilling flow back water

    The rapid development of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing for mining natural gas from shale has
    posed potential impacts on human health and biodiversity. The produced flow back waters after hydraulic
    stimulation are known to carry high levels of saline and total dissolved solids. To understand the toxicity and
    potential carcinogenic effects of these wastewaters, flow back waters from five Marcellus hydraulic fracturing
    oil and gas wells were analyzed. The physicochemical nature of these samples was analyzed by inductively
    coupled plasma mass spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.
    A cytotoxicity study using colony formation as the endpoint was carried out to define the LC50 values of test
    samples using human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B). The BEAS-2B cell transformation assay was employed
    to assess the carcinogenic potential of the samples. Barium and strontium were among the most abundant metals
    in these samples and the same metals were found to be elevated in BEAS-2B cells after long-term treatment.
    BEAS-2B cells treated for 6 weeks with flow back waters produced colony formation in soft agar that was concentration dependent. In addition, flow back water-transformed BEAS-2B cells show better migration capability when compared to control cells. This study provides information needed to assess the potential health impact of post-hydraulic fracturing flow back waters from Marcellus Shale natural gas mining”