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“The development of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is considered the biggest change to the global energy production system in the last half-century. However, several communities have banned fracking because of unresolved concerns about the impact of this process on human health. To evaluate the potential health impacts of fracking, we analyzed records of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013, comparing infants born to mothers living at different distances from active fracking sites and those born both before and after fracking was initiated at each site. We adjusted for fixed maternal determinants of infant health by comparing siblings who were and were not exposed to fracking sites in utero. We found evidence for negative health effects of in utero exposure to fracking sites within 3 km of a mother’s residence, with the largest health impacts seen for in utero exposure within 1 km of fracking sites. Negative health impacts include a greater incidence of low–birth weight babies as well as significant declines in average birth weight and in several other measures of infant health. There is little evidence for health effects at distances beyond 3 km, suggesting that health impacts of fracking are highly local. Informal estimates suggest that about 29,000 of the nearly 4 million annual U.S. births occur within 1 km of an active fracking site and that these births therefore may be at higher risk of poor birth outcomes.”
Interesting article about whether engineers should have a similar declaration to the medical profession.
An article from the Marketplace, www.marketplace.org
This is an article about the cancer effects of Benzene
Article from the Guardian Newspaper
A summary of lawsuits from the USA
Testimony of a Dr from Physicians for Social Responsibility in the USA
Letter to the Hydraulic Fracturing inquiry in the Northern Territory outlining health concerns
Not directly about Fracking but about particulate matter effects .
An article about Public Health regulation of the fracking industry in multiple countries.
Nit directly related to fracking .An article from the NEJM the impact of the environment on health and regulations
Article about governance and social license in Fracking
Not directly fracking but an article about particulate matter in the air which is associated with the fracking industry .
“Conclusion: PM2.5-attributable health risk is closely associated with high population density and high levels of pollution in China. Further estimates using long-term historical exposure data and concentration-response (C-R) relationships should be completed in the future to investigate longer-term trends in the effects of PM2.5.”
A comprehensive article about climate change and health
Article about pollution and health
Interesting commentary on compromise agreements that have been made in common law claims in the USA
The Scottish Government consultation document
An opinion from two doctors in the USA
Not directly fracking but about PM 2.5 pollution which is one of the potential consequences of fracking sites.
Special report in the Journal of Environmental Health
The two page plan from the HSE!
Draft final public health report
“Increasing evidence demonstrates an association between health symptoms and exposure to unconventional natural gas development (UNGD). The purpose of this study is to describe the health of adults in communities with intense UNGD who presented for evaluation of symptoms”
“Results from our pilot study, although limited because of the small sample size and limitations related to our exposure biomarker (e.g.,non-specificity), are suggestive of a potential higher benzene exposure in participating pregnant women than in the general Canadian population. Whether the high urinary t,t-MA levels measured in this study are related to hydraulic fracking remains unknown. Given the documented health effects of benzene, especially those occurring through in utero exposure, and the growing hydraulic fracturing industry in this region, this first biomonitoring initiative certainly highlights the need of further research to better delineate associated health risks.”
“This report presents estimates, based on recent analysis carried out by EPA, of the cancer risk and respiratory health risk to residents of every county in the United States that can be traced back to air toxics from the oil and gas industry. Specifically, the analysis here is based on EPA’s most recent National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) analysis updated to reflect the latest emissions data from EPA’s National Emissions Inventory (NEI).”
Forbes article. “This post looks in greater depth at the health problems linked to fracking. These are not hypothetical concerns—there are now more than 700 studies looking at risks—and more than 80% of the health studies document risks or actual harms.”
“Our results are suggestive of an association between maternal residential proximity to UGD-activity and preterm birth and fetal death. Quantifying chemical and non-chemical stressors among residents near UGD should be prioritized.”
Article from CMAJ news: “New evidence has emerged indicating that wastewater from fracking contains compounds harmful to human health. Fracking, a controversial technique for extracting oil and gas, involves injecting a water mixture deep into the ground to force open existing fissures. The process produces wastewater containing a number of contaminants…”
Article from the Guardian
“Fracking appears to be associated with early infant mortality in populations living in counties where the process is carried out. here is some evidence that the effect is associated with private water well density and/or environmental law violations.”
“Heavy metals (arsenic and manganese), particulate matter (PM), benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene,xylenes (BTEX), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been linked to significant neurodevelopmental health problems in infants, children and young adults. These substances are widely used in, or become byproducts of unconventional oil and natural gas (UOG) development and operations. Every stage of the UOG lifecycle, from well construction to extraction, operations, transportation and distribution can lead to air and water contamination. Residents near UOG operations can suffer from increased exposure to elevated concentrations of air and water pollutants.”
” Indeed, while the UK is yet to see unconventional gas and oil extraction reach the production stage, as this article shows, local communities can suffer significant harms even at the exploration stage when national governments with neoliberal economic agendas are set on developing unconventional resources in the face of considerable opposition and a wealth of evidence of environmental and social harms. This paper takes a broad interdisciplinary approach, inspired by green criminological insights, that shows how a form of ‘collective trauma’ has been experienced at the exploration stage by communities in the North of England.”
Article by an American Doctor
“In a tiny south-eastern Ohio town in the Appalachian foothills, the Hazel Ginsburg Well is holding waste from out of-state fracking operations – a sludge of toxic chemicals and undrinkable water” An article form the Guardian
Sheffield Public Report
“Many countries are considering exploitation of shale gas but its overall sustainability is currently unclear. Previous studies focused mainly on environmental aspects of shale gas, largely in the US, with scant information on socioeconomic aspects. To address this knowledge gap, this paper integrates for the first time environmental, economic and social aspects of shale gas to evaluate its overall sustainability. The focus is on the UK which is on the cusp of developing a shale gas industry. Shale gas is compared to other electricity options for the current situation and future scenarios up to the year 2030 to investigate whether it can contribute towards a more sustainable electricity mix in the UK. The results obtained through multi-criteria decision analysis suggest that,when equal importance is assumed for each of the three sustainability aspects shale gas ranks seventh out of nine electricity options, with wind and solar PV being the best and coal the worst options. However, it outranks biomass and hydropower. Changing the importance of the sustainability aspects widely, the ranking of shale gas ranges between fourth and eighth. For shale gas to become the most sustainable option of those assessed, large improvements would be needed, including a 329-fold reduction in environmental impacts and 16 times higher employment, along with simultaneous large changes (up to 10,000 times) in the importance assigned to each criterion. Similar changes would be needed if it were to be comparable to conventional or liquefied natural gas, biomass, nuclear or hydropower. The results also suggest that a future electricity mix (2030)would be more sustainable with a lower rather than a higher share of shale gas. These results serve to inform UK policy makers, industry and non-governmental organisations. They will also be of interest to other countries considering exploitation of shale gas.
“The inorganic geochemistry of hydraulic fracturing fluids is reviewed with new insights on the role of entrapped formation waters in unconventional shale gas and tight sand formations on the quality of flowback and produced waters that areextracted with hydrocarbons. The rapid increase of the salinity of flowback fluids during production, combined withgeochemical and isotopic changes, indicate mixing of the highly saline formation water with the injected water. The salinity increase suggests that the volume of the injected water that is returned to the surface with the flowback water is much smaller than previous estimates, and thus the majority of the injected water is retained within the shale formations.The high salinity of the flowback and produced water is associated with high concentrations of halides, ammonium, metals,metalloids, and radium nuclides that pose environmental and human health risks upon the release of the hydraulic fracturing fluids to the environment”
“There are compelling reasons to question the use of natural gas (methane),given the risks it poses to human health. This report summarizes recent scientific findings that document methane’s implications for health.”
“This pilot study indicates that residents living near a compressor station are potentially exposed to noise levels that are higher than the recommended U.S. EPA levels of 55 dBA (outdoor/daytime) and 45 dBA (indoor/night time). While our results suggest that the currently proposed setback distance by the State of Maryland may not be protective enough, our sample size was small and more research is warranted to determine the exact distance at which future compressor stations should be located to minimize the potential health impacts to nearby residents. States with current UNGDP activities should also consider taking a proactive approach by creating noise and health outcomes surveillance programs to monitor noise levels, as well as the health of residents living in close proximity to natural gas activity.”
“The impacts of climate on health and wellbeing occur in time and space and through a range of indirect, complicated mechanisms. This diversity of pathways has major implications for national public health planning and influence on interventions that might help to mitigate and adapt to rapidly changing environmental conditions, nationally and internationally. This paper draws upon evidence from public health and adverse impact studies across climate science, hydrology, agriculture, public health, and the social sciences. It presents a conceptual model to support decision-making by recognizing both the proximal and distal pathways from climate-induced environmental change to national health and wellbeing. The proximal and distal pathways associated with food security, migration and mobility illustrate the diverse climate change influences in different geographic locationsover different timescales. We argue that greater realization and articulation of proximal and distal
pathways should radically alter how climate change is addressed as a national and international public health challenge.”
“Climate change is already harming millions of people around the world, and urgent action is needed to reduce carbon emissions and avoid global health catastrophe, according to a new report by experts from 26 organizations, including the World Bank and the World Health Organization.”
“High volume hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” is a process used to extract natural gas trapped in shale rock thousands of feet underground. In the process, a well is drilled vertically deep into rock, and then drilling turns horizontally to create a path as long as one mile underground. Fractures in the rock occur when injected with millions of gallons of fresh water mixed with toxic chemicals and sand. These fractures in the rock allow the gas to escape. Fracking has become controversial in recent years because of associated health problems in workers, people living near drilling sites and reports of contaminated drinking water and air pollution.”
“Exposures from well pads diminish rapidly with distances of only a few kilometers but there is evidence showing disease risk multiple kilometers from well pads. This leaves open the possibility that the several thousand vehicle trips per well pad create traffic emissions over wide areas away from the pad. This alternative source of exposure has not previously been well studied but is being more seriously considered.”
“From climate change to hydraulic fracturing, and from drinking water safety to wildfires, environmental challenges are changing.The United States has made substantial environmental protection progress based on media-specific and single pollutant risk-based frameworks. However, today’s environmental problems are increasingly complex and new scientific approaches and tools are needed to achieve sustainable solutions to protect the environment and public health. In this article, we present examples of today’s environmental challenges and offer an integrated systems approach to address them. We provide a strategic framework and recommendations for advancing the application of science for protecting the environment and public health. We posit that addressing 21st century challenges requires transdisciplinary and systems approaches, new data sources, and stakeholder partnerships. To address these challenges, we outline a process driven by problem formulation with the following steps: a) formulate the problem holistically, b) gather and synthesize diverse information, c) develop and assess options, and d) implement sustainable solutions. This process will require new skills and education in systems science, with an emphasis on science translation. A systems-based approach can transcend media- and receptor-specific bounds, integrate diverse information, and recognize the inextricable link between ecology and human health.”
“Injured oil workers are exposed to a broad microbiome in hydraulic fracturing fluids (HFF) and oil wells at the time of injury. This includes Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, Acinetobacter, and rare human pathogens which may be harder to culture. This study evaluates oil-related burn (ORB) microbiology.”
An interesting ,if a little complicated in parts , powerpoint presentation about the impact of the environment on your health.There is a section on fracking at the end. However the general,principles are explained using common health problems.
“In this paper we summarize a number of risk pathway scenarios that are often claimed in literature as of priority for risk analyses in unconventional gas development. The resulting scenarios are structured in diagrams representing causal relationships between events. We argue that science is called to ﬁll gaps regarding the main processes characterizing the involved events and deﬁning the conditions under which their occurrence may be enhanced or inhibited. In this way, these scenarios can be more objectively parameterized, making their quantitative assessment a more feasible task and opening the way for the formulation of appropriate risk mitigation strategies.”
This paper estimates drinking water quality effects of SGD in Pennsylvania, and fnds localized impacts for well pads drilled within 1 km of drinking water source intakes. A recent study fnds that Pennsylvanians in counties with shale gas development spent $19 million on bottled water in 2010 due to perceived risks to drinking water (Wrenn, Klaiber, and Jaenicke 2016). Our results suggest that these perceived risks may in fact be justifed. In assessing the costs of these impacts, however, one must simultaneously consider the share of the population that is exposed to these drinking water externalities: although 83 percent of the population in Pennsylvania sources drinking water from community water systems, only 14 percent are served by groundwater CWSs. While there are potentially large costs related to drinking water violations in terms of health (Currie et al. 2013) and avoidance behavior (Graff Zivin, Neidell, and Schlenker 2011; Wrenn, Klaiber, and Jaenicke 2016), the associated external costs of these well pad developments in Pennsylvania are likely to be small due to the size of the affected population. An important caveat is that exposure to SGD activity largely depends on the location of shale plays and is thus heterogeneous across regions. The advent of horizontal drilling has allowed SGD operations to proceed in densely populated urban areas, where drinking water source locations may be close by. As such, our estimates would imply large external costs from compromises to drinking water quality if applied to other regions of SGD activity. These results not only inform policymakers who set and enforce health-protective standards for the industry, but researchers who study the mechanisms of pollutant exposure to better understand how these operations affect health in their communities.
An interesting submission to the Western Australian government from Doctors for the Environment Australia which includes summary about fracking, chemicals used and impacts.
The impact of human activities on our planet’s natural systems has been intensifying rapidly in the past several decades, leading to disruption and transformation of most natural systems. These disruptions in the atmosphere, oceans, and across the terrestrial land surface are not only driving species to extinction, they pose serious threats to human health and wellbeing. Characterising and addressing these threats requires a paradigm shift. In a lecture delivered to the Academy of Medical Sciences on Nov 13, 2017, I describe the scale of human impacts on natural systems and the extensive associated health effects across nearly every dimension of human health. I highlight several overarching themes that emerge from planetary health and suggest advances in the way we train, reward, promote, and fund the generation of health scientists who will be tasked with breaking out of their disciplinary silos to address this urgent constellation of health threats. I propose that protecting the health of future generations requires taking better care of Earth’s natural systems.
“There is a renewed interest in expanding domestic oil and gas development in the United Kingdom (UK). However, the potential social consequences of this expansion are still unknown. Thus, the current study assesses whether the number of spudded oil and gas wells are correlated with violent and property crime rates within 69 local authorities between 2004 and 2015 (n = 828). Fixed effects regression analyses indicate that wells are positively correlated with violent crime rates. That is, each additional well is associated with a 1.5% increase in violent crime. When the analysis is limited to those local authorities that have constructed the most wells, the correlation between wells and crime increases as the boomtown literature might suggest. In particular, each additional well is associated with a 4.9% increase in violent crime and a 4.9% increase in property crime.
We conclude by pointing out that this study stands as the first to empirically examine the relationship between oil and gas development and crime within UK local authorities over time and suggest that results have important implications for crime, social disorganisation and environmental justice.”
“Three states, Maryland, New York and Vermont, have concluded that it was too unsafe for public health to allow fracking in their states. Five countries have enacted bans, along with six that call for a moratorium. The peer-reviewed scientific literature now includes more than 700 studies on the impacts of fracking; most were published in just the last three to five years. Of the studies looking specifically at health impacts, more than 80 percent document risks or actual harms.”
A health information leaflet for health professionals who work in Fracking regions.
“New evidence has emerged indicating that wastewater from fracking contains compounds harmful to human health. Fracking, a controversial technique for extracting oil and gas, involves injecting a water mixture deep into the ground to force open existing fissures. The process produces wastewater containing a number of contaminants.
New evidence published July 12 in Environmental Science and Technology suggests that wastewater treatment plants do not effectively remove a number of these contaminants — some of which are known carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds. These pollutants are discharged to surface water and may end up in the drinking water of downstream communities.”
“Peer-reviewed scientific publications on UOG hazards, exposures and health impacts were identified, screened and evaluated. The resulting evidence on specific UOG-associated hazards and potential health impacts was assessed systematically and used to derive
conclusions. General literature on the health impacts of hazards potentially linked to UOG activities and findings from selected scientific studies specifically investigating UOG-sourced hazards and exposure levels, were included. Epidemiological studies seeking to identify quantifiable health effects associated with UOG site operation were also reviewed. The evidence was assessed using a standardised approach and categorized as being ‘sufficient’, ‘limited’ or ‘inadequate’, as a basis to establish associations between UOG-sourced hazards and potential health impacts.”
The appendices to the Health Impact Assessment for UOG in Scotland
“The process of natural gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial energy acquisition technique often viewed with disdain by the public, due to its potential for environmental harm. However, the mental health and psychological well-being of fracking communities, including potential benefits and detriments, are often overlooked. We reviewed the literature on the association between fracking and psychological functioning, finding that although persons living in fracking communities may experience some minimal, initial benefits such as land lease income or infrastructure development, they may also experience worry, anxiety, and depression about lifestyle, health, safety, and financial security, as well as exposure to neurotoxins and changes to the physical landscape. Indeed, entire communities can experience collective trauma as a result of the “boom/bust” cycle that often occurs when industries impinge on community life. Impacted communities are often already vulnerable, including poor, rural, or indigenous persons, who may continue to experience the deleterious effects of fracking for generations. An influx of workers to fracking communities often stokes fears about outsiders and crime; yet, it must be recognized that this population of mobile workers is also vulnerable, often ostracized, and without social support. Practitioners, researchers, and policy makers alike should continue to investigate the potential psychological ramifications of fracking, so that effective and targeted intervention strategies can be developed, disseminated, and implemented to improve mental health in fracking communities.”₆
“Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” (see supplemental file S1). These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.””
“Perhaps, as industry would claim, there is “nothing to see here” and no problem…but we don’t know, given limited research and that not many are looking. Is this an experiment we should be doing on our children?”
“Oil and gas development emits known hematological carcinogens, such as benzene, and increasingly occurs in residential areas. We explored whether residential proximity to oil and gas development was associated with risk for hematologic cancers using a registry-based case-control study design.”
” The results of this study indicate regulations and risk assessments focused exclusively on chemicals used in well-stimulation
activities may underestimate potential hazard or risk from overall oil field chemical use.”
An article from the Yale Global Health Review about the effects of fracking .
‘In this report, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) seeks to shed light on the damage to health caused by government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. It brings together for the first time the health costs arising from fossil fuel use and contrasts them with the subsidies paid by governments to the coal, oil and gas industry.In addition, the report offers insights into the key role of the G20 and the European Union in the fossil fuel subsidies debate and provides some compelling, tangible examples of new health investments that could be achieved by re-allocating fossil fuel subsidies. Finally, it provides a prescription for urgent action. ‘
Conclusion and Recommendations
“The work undertaken towards the WA Parliamentary and Health reports were completed in 2014 and 2015. Since that time, there has been a surge in peer-reviewed publications. The majority of these publications, including two seminal systematic literature reviews and a US EPA report presenting extensively analysed experimental evidence on impacts on drinking water supplies, have only added weight and urgency to our concerns regarding the potential for significant health impacts to be borne by the WA community.
The new evidence includes studies showing associations between the industry and increased presence and concentration of air and water contaminants and psychosocial stressors which may impair health. Children have been identified as potentially at greater risk. In parallel, studies report increased frequency of health impacts, such as frequencies of asthma exacerbations, cardiovascular and neurological conditions requiring hospitalisation, lower birth weights and other birth complications, nasal and sinus symptoms, migraine headaches and increased mental health burden are all associated with living close to industry operations and are gravely concerning.”
Report from Public Health England 2017 by Alec Dobney, Head of Unit, Environmental Hazards and Emergencies
Department, Public Health England
“Readers of these case studies will learn how two American states analyzed the potential risks of fracking through their respective environmental impact assessment mechanisms and came to different decisions. New York chose to implement a moratorium on fracking during its seven-year environmental and health review process, and ultimately enacted a statewide ban, while California decided to allow fracking to proceed, relatively unabated, after an EIA process of one year—which, unlike New York, did not include a health impact assessment.”
“How The Government Has Misled Parliament And The Public On The Climate Change Impacts Of
Shale Oil And Gas Development In Britain : A Report For Talk Fracking”