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US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry report on Groundwater contamination and health concerns in Dimmock , Pennsylvania
An epidemiology article about causality
Fracking as a case study of how the brain is effected by the environment
A follow up article to : Finkel ML, Law A. The rush to drill for natural gas: a public health cautionary tale. Am J Public Health. 2011;101(5): 785–85.
An article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal discussing the article “Unconventional oil and gas development and risk of childhood leukaemia :assessing the evidence” ( see 2016)
“Health impact assessments (HIAs) across the globe may be used by governments and
industries to secure approval for unconventional gas extraction developments. HIA is
an umbrella term that covers an array of health review and assessment practices,
ranging from the very general to quite specific and technical health studies. Our
concern in this paper is principally with the specialist end of the HIA continuum
and particularly its application to unconventional gas extraction in the UK.”
“The recent growth of unconventional natural gas development and production (UNGDP) has outpaced research on the potential health impacts associated with the process. The Maryland Marcellus Shale Public Health Study was conducted to inform the Maryland Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission, State legislators and the Governor about potential public health impacts associated with UNGDP so they could make an
informed decision that considers the health and well-being of Marylanders. “
General information from Frack Free Sussex
“This prenatal exposure to oil and gas operation chemicals suppressed pituitary hormone concentrations across experimental groups (prolactin, LH, FSH, and others), increased body weights, altered uterine and ovary weights, increased heart weights and collagen deposition, disrupted folliculogenesis, and other adverse health effects. This work suggests potential adverse developmental and reproductive health outcomes in humans and animals exposed
to these oil and gas operation chemicals, with adverse outcomes observed even in the lowest dose group tested, equivalent to concentrations reported in drinking water sources. These endpoints suggest potential impacts on fertility, as previously observed in the male siblings, which require careful assessment in future studies.”
“Residential UNGD activity metrics were statistically associated with increased odds of mild, moderate, and severe asthma exacerbations. Whether these associations are causal awaits further investigation, including more detailed exposure assessment.”
“The Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of
Fracking (the Compendium) is a fully referenced compilation of the evidence outlining the risks
and harms of fracking. Bringing together findings from the scientific and medical literature,
government and industry reports, and journalistic investigation, it is a public, open-access
document that is housed on the websites of Concerned Health Professionals of New York
(www.concernedhealthny.org) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.psr.org).”
“There is growing evidence that shale gas and coalbed methane extraction are linked to numerous potential adverse health impacts. Communities living near gas fields report a wide range of immediate symptoms, while academic studies point to very serious medium and longer-term effects. Researchers in the US have warned that the unconventional oil and gas industry is an ‘uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale’. 1 From the toxic chemicals used in drilling and fracking fluids, to the pollution caused by heavy site traffic and equipment, it seems increasingly clear that the fracking industry is bad for our health.”
“In April 2015, Medact published an assessment of the potential health threats associated with
shale gas production (SGP), including the process of high volume, hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’)
and reported that:
significant hazards are unavoidably associated with fracking and could impact negatively on
the health and wellbeing of local communities;
the regulatory framework for fracking in the UK was unclear, incomplete and inadequate,
and compromised further by budget and staff cuts to regulatory agencies; and
shale gas is not necessarily a ‘clean’ source of energy and may hinder our transition towards
a decarbonised energy system.”
In 2014 a team of residents from the area of Pavillion,Wyoming, science and health experts, and environmental health groups, collaborated on a project to test the air and residents’ bodies for chemicals known to be linked to oil and gas production. This is the first study which combines environmental sampling with the monitoring of body tissues or fluids (biomonitoring) of community members in very close proximity to gas production equipment and activities.
“In 1991, the U.S. National Safety Council deemed the oil and gas extraction industry as having a 49% higher nonfatal injury rate than all other U.S. industries combined.5 Given the increase of hydraulic well fracturing and the past record of nonfatal injury within the oil and gas extraction industry, we anticipate that hydraulic well fracturing will contribute to increasing the number of injuries. The purpose of this report is to describe injuries related to hydraulic well fracturing (or “fracking”) in patients admitted to our burn center over a 14-month period.”
“Local communities within oil producing countries in Africa often face formidable environmental challenges that generate conflicts and concerns around exploitation, environmental impact, and health risks. A key feature of these concerns has been the paucity of effective risk communication mechanisms and the impact this has on the public understanding of risk. Risk communication has been identified as a significant factor in explaining why the health consequences of environmental degradation remain unabated in oil producing communities. This paper evaluates health risk communication in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The study is based on 69 interviews conducted in the Niger Delta region. The paper argues that the health of the local population is being impaired by risk incidences relating to oil and gas exploration activities, the effects of which are amplified by inadequate communication of health risks to the public. The study argues for and suggests ways in which health risk communication processes can be improved in the Niger Delta. A multi-dimensional framework for public health risk communication is developed as a means of advancing understanding, practice, and policy.”
“Hydraulic fracturing is the industry standard for extracting hydrocarbons from shale formations. Attention has been paid to the economic benefits and environmental impacts of this process, yet the biogeochemical changes induced in the deep subsurface are poorly understood. Recent single-gene investigations revealed that halotolerant microbial communities were enriched after hydraulic fracturing. Here, the reconstruction of 31 unique genomes coupled to metabolite data from the Marcellus and Utica shales revealed that many of the persisting organisms play roles in methylamine cycling, ultimately supporting methanogenesis in the deep biosphere. Fermentation of injected chemical additives also sustains long-term microbial persistence, while thiosulfate reduction could produce sulfide, contributing to reservoir souring and infrastructure corrosion. Extensive links between viruses and microbial hosts demonstrate active viral predation, which may contribute to the release of labile cellular constituents into the extracellular environment. Our analyses show that hydraulic fracturing provides the organismal and chemical inputs for colonization and persistence in the deep terrestial subsurface.”
“The study Wilson referenced in her article “Biocides May Not Be Needed for Fracking” implies that adding a biocide to a fracturing fluid isn’t always needed, a statement contradictory to safe and more sustainable hydraulic fracturing practices. It is important to realize that poor microbial control practices can actually lead to significant problems in the long term. In fact, by employing a holistic biocide program, operators can obtain longer-term production benefits and optimize their total cost of operation.”
“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.”
National Toxics Network (Australia) report on the toxins associated with fracking by Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith 2016.
Farmers are exposed to a unique range of vocational stressors, and while mental health morbidity is similar to their non-rural counterparts, suicide rates in the farming community are higher. We examined the contribution of coal seam gas (CSG) extraction to the global stress burden and mental health of 378 Australian farmers (mean age = 53.08 years; SD = 10.28). Exploratory factor analysis revealed that CSG items added two unique dimensions to the Edinburgh Farming Stress Inventory (EFSI): Off-Farm CSG Concerns (concerns about possible impacts of CSG extraction on human health, communities, and the environment) and On-Farm CSG Concerns (potential CSG impacts on farm profitability, disruption of farm operations, and privacy). Subscales based on the new factors correlated significantly with farmers’ self-reported levels of depression, anxiety and stress reactivity, as assessed by the DASS-21. Latent profile analysis categorized farmers into four distinct segments based on their overall stress profiles: Non-Stressed (39%), Finance-Stressed (31%), CSG-Stressed (15%) and Globally-Stressed (15%). Farmers in the CSG Stressed and Globally-Stressed profiles exhibited clinically significant levels of psychological morbidity. This information can be used to inform strategies for improving mental health outcomes in the agri-gasfields of Australia.
November 20160, All Party Parliamentary Group on Shale gas : The key unanswered question…
“Question from the floor,
I’m the Chair of Preston New Road action group and can I just say I agree with a great deal of what I’ve heard here today. My biggest concern for our local community is that the Director of Public Health, as Gordon’s rightly said, indicated 61 recommendations which he said should be taking place before you even consider fracking in the area. We’re aware that that hasn’t happened. He also said we had to have this baseline health impact assessment carried out, because you can’t determine harm if you don’t know where you are now. Unfortunately the Inspector who heard the inquiry has determined that that is not necessary. So I would like to pose a question to this government – how is somebody with no medical background knowledge able to countermand what somebody with a great deal of medical knowledge has proposed as a way of protecting people?”
Risk and Benefit to Health : Notes from the literature
Is fracking taking place too close to homes and schools? According to a new analysis by a group of scientists, the answer is yes.
Occupational health issues associated with fracking
A presentation from the Institute of Occupational Medicine,Edinburgh
“However should a significantly sized production industry develop, there may be local consequences in some catchments in the south east which are already water stressed. In these cases it will be up to the water companies to decide if they are able to supply the water or the relevant environmental agency if it is to be abstracted. Where water stressed catchments and shale gas licence areas coincide, operators will need to be aware of the risk that there may be reduced volumes available in the future. The likelihood of water shortages may increase and such incidences may restrict the industry’s operations.”
“Modern oil and gas development frequently occurs in close proximity to human populations and increased levels of ambient noise have been documented throughout some phases of development. Numerous studies have evaluated air and water quality degradation and human exposure pathways, but few have evaluated potential health risks and impacts from environmental noise exposure. We reviewed the scientific literature on environmental noise exposure to determine the potential concerns, if any, that noise from oil and gas development activities present to public health. Data on noise levels associated with oil and gas development are limited, but measurements can be evaluated amidst the large body of epidemiology assessing the non-auditory effects of environmental noise exposure and established public health guidelines for community noise. There are a large number of
noise dependent and subjective factors that make the determination of a dose response relationship between noise and health outcomes difficult. However, the literature indicates that oil and gas activities produce noise at levels that may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, including annoyance, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease. More studies that investigate the relationships between noise exposure and human health risks from unconventional oil and gas development are warranted. Finally, policies and mitigation techniques that limit human exposure to noise from oil and gas operations should be considered to reduce health risks”
Spanish Article on 8 serious effects of Fracking
“This report will outline our current interpretation of the key research and address evidence surrounding the full range of issues that have been raised around the controversial drilling process now known as “fracking.” Changing conclusions are inherent to all scientific research, which necessarily has to incorporate new information and analysis. Greenpeace encourages readers to view this publication as a “living document” rather than a report or academic analysis, which will regularly be updated as new findings are made public. Each new version will be updated numerically; this is version 1.0 (November 2013). Readers are encouraged to get in touch if they feel there is evidence missing or if they have a significantly different interpretation of the evidence presented. “
“In an analysis of more than 1,000 chemicals in fluids used in and created by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Yale School of Public Health researchers found that many of the substances have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems, and the majority had undetermined toxicity due to insufficient information.”
Comments on radioactivity associated with fracking
“Conclusion—Prenatal residential exposure to unconventional natural gas development activity was associated with two pregnancy outcomes, adding to evidence that unconventional natural gas development may impact health”
ABSTRACT Objectives: This study was conducted to describe the health concerns of residents of an unconventional oil and natural gas development (UOGD) community and identify methods to best disseminate health information to the residents.
Design and Sample: A qualitative descriptive study of 27 residents of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, was conducted.
Results: Residents described their health concerns in terms of their changing community as a result of UOGD, their
feelings of stress and powerlessness related to these changes, and the limited response of their local policymakers and protective agencies. There were indications of misinformation related to routine environmental health and UOGD environmental risks. Web-based educational programs with downloadable printed materials to bridge the knowledge gaps of residents and health professionals are recommended.
Conclusions: Recommendations include public health nurses providing education to communities and other health professionals regarding environmental health risks, working with communities to advocate for health-protective regulations, and adopting a community-based participatory approach to meet the needs of community members.
Ever since fracking for gas and oil exploded across the landscape citizens have demanded to
know the identity and toxicity of the chemical solutions injected underground that make fracking
possible. After a decade of struggle, much of the information remains secret.
More than 17 million Americans in the contiguous 48 states live within one mile of an active oil
or natural gas well.
This report tells the story of how the federal Toxic Substances Control Act
(TSCA), the federal law governing the manufacture and use of fracking and drilling chemicals,
allows widespread use of these chemicals with no health testing, and then denies citizens even
the most basic information on their identity and use at thousands of natural gas and oil wells
across the country.
Toxic Secrets is based on a first-ever review of EPA’s health assessments and regulatory
determinations for 105 fracking and drilling chemicals reviewed under TSCA’s New Chemicals
program between 2009 and 2014. Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) received the records
over the course of almost two years under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and
separately obtained manufacturers’ submissions for most of the 105 chemicals from EPA’s
This is the list of chemicals which accompanies the Toxic Secrets report “Companies Exploit Weak US Chemical Rules to Hide Fracking Risks”
A report from the Food and Water Watch on health symptoms reported to the Health Department in Pennsylvania and revealed by FOI requests.
“Results: The observed number of urinary bladder cases was higher than expected in both
sexes in counties with shale gas activity. In counties with the fewest number of producing
wells, the increase was essentially non-existent. The number of observed cases of thyroid
cancer increased substantially among both sexes over the time period in all counties
regardless of the number of wells drilled. The pattern for leukaemia was mixed among
males and females and among the counties regardless of the extent of shale gas development
“Asthma is common and can be exacerbated by air pollution and stress. Unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) has community and environmental impacts. In Pennsylvania, UNGD began in 2005, and by 2012, 6253 wells had been drilled. There are no prior studies of UNGD and objective respiratory outcomes.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate associations between UNGD and asthma exacerbations.
DESIGN A nested case-control study comparing patients with asthma with and without exacerbations from 2005 through 2012 treated at the Geisinger Clinic, which provides primary care services to over 400 000 patients in Pennsylvania. Patients with asthma aged 5 to 90 years (n = 35 508) were identified in electronic health records; those with exacerbations were frequency matched on age, sex, and year of event to those without.
EXPOSURES On the day before each patient’s index date (cases, date of event or medication order; controls, contact date), we estimated activity metrics for 4 UNGD phases (pad preparation, drilling, stimulation [hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”], and production) using distance from the patient’s home to the well, well characteristics, and the dates and durationsof phases.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES We identified and defined asthma exacerbations as mild (new oral corticosteroid medication order), moderate (emergency department encounter), or severe (hospitalization).
RESULTS We identified 20 749 mild, 1870 moderate, and 4782 severe asthma exacerbations, and frequency matched these to 18 693, 9350, and 14 104 control index dates, respectively. In 3-level adjusted models, there was an association between the highest group of the activity metric for each UNGD phase compared with the lowest group for 11 of 12 UNGD-outcome pairs: odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 1.5 (95% CI, 1.2-1.7) for the association of the pad metric with severe exacerbations to 4.4 (95% CI, 3.8-5.2) for the association of the production metric with mild exacerbations. Six of the 12 UNGD-outcome associations had increasing ORs across quartiles. Our findings were robust to increasing levels of covariate control and in sensitivity analyses that included evaluation of some possible sources of unmeasured confounding.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Residential UNGD activity metrics were statistically associated with increased risk of mild, moderate, and severe asthma exacerbations. Whether these associations are causal awaits further investigation, including more detailed exposure assessment.
“The public health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the UK and elsewhere are constantly under review. This article summarises the findings of 17 peer-reviewed scientific papers and a report published in 2016. Month by month scientific publications reveal both problems and ignorance about what fracking and related processes can or may do to public health. Well-documented, well-referenced and regularly revised fracking reports from organisations like Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (based in the USA) and Medact (based in the UK) already provide a large and broad body of evidence on public health, global climate change and economics. The papers discussed in this article identify recent research on public health threats and data gaps that support the need for precautionary and prevention principles at community, village, town, region, nation and global levels to protect public health.”
Abstract : Research on air pollutant emissions associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) development has
grown significantly in recent years. Empirical investigations have focused on the identification and measurement of oil and gas air pollutants [e.g. volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), methane] and the influence of UOG on local and regional ambient air quality (e.g. tropospheric ozone). While more studies to better characterize spatial and temporal trends in exposure among children and newborns near UOG sites are needed, existing research suggests that exposure to air pollutants emitted during lifecycle operations can potentially lead to adverse respiratory outcomes in this population. Children are known to be at a greater risk from exposure to air pollutants, which can impair lung function and neurodevelopment, or exacerbate existing conditions, such as asthma, because the respiratory system is particularly vulnerable during development inutero, the postnatal period, and early childhood. In this article, we review the literature relevant to respiratory risks of UOG on infants and children. Existing epidemiology studies document the impact of air pollutant exposure on children in other contexts and suggest impacts near UOG. Research is sparse on long-term health risks associated with frequent acute exposures – especially in children – hence our interpretation of these findings may be conservative. Many data gaps remain, but existing data support precautionary measures to protect the health of infants and children.
“Discussions with communities and experts, supported by the expanding research from the USA and Australia, revealed increasing health concerns in six key areas. These are absence of a safe solution to the toxic wastewater management problems, air pollution, land and water competition, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing risks, fugitive methane emissions and lack of proven regulatory regimes. Emerging epidemiological studies suggesting interference with foetal development and birth outcomes, and exacerbation of asthma conditions, are particularly concerning to rural families and livestock.”
“For the first time, this report, based on independent analysis by a researcher at Colorado State University, quantifies the national health impacts in the U.S. from ozone smog produced by the pollution from the oil and gas industry. The analysis describes the contribution of these emissions to ozone season ozone levels in 2025 and quantifies health effects of ozone smog from this industry. Ozone smog that results from oil and gas industry pollution poses a real threat to children who suffer from asthma.”