Click on a link to view/download article

  • A county level estimate of PM2-5 related chronic mortality risk in China based on multi-model exposure data 

    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.”

  • Air Pollution and human health hazards_ a compilation of air toxins acknowledged by the gas industry in Queensland’s Darling Downs

    The paper offers an attempt to determine whether emissions from the unconventional gas industry are associated with hospitalisations in the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. Hospitalisation data were obtained from the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Services (DDHHS) and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) emissions data from the National Pollutants Inventory (NPI). Hospital admissions for circulatory and  respiratory conditions, controlled for population, increased significantly from 2007 to 2014 (p < 0.001).  Acute circulatory admissions increased  133%  (2198–5141) and acute respiratory admissions increased 142% (1257–3051). CSG emissions increased substantially over the same period: nitrogen oxides (489% to 10,048 tonnes), carbon monoxide (800% to 6800 tonnes), PM10 (6000% to 1926 tonnes), volatile organic compounds (337% to 670 tonnes) and formaldehyde (12 kg to over 160 tonnes). Increased cardiopulmonary  hospitalisations are coincident with the rise in pollutants known to cause such symptoms. Apparently, controls to limit exposure are ineffectual. The burden of air pollution from the gas industry on the wellbeing of the Darling Downs population is a significant public health concern.

  • World Economic Forum The  Global Risks Report 2018

    “In our annual Global Risks Perception Survey, environmental risks have grown in prominence in recent years. This trend has continued this year, with all five risks in the environmental category being ranked higher than average for both likelihood and impact over a 10-year horizon. This follows a year characterized by high-impact hurricanes, extreme temperatures and the first rise in CO2 emissions for four years. We have been pushing our planet to the brink and the damage is becoming increasingly clear. Biodiversity is being lost at mass-extinction rates, agricultural systems are under strain and pollution of the air and sea has become an increasingly pressing threat to human health. A trend towards nation-state unilateralism may make it more difficult to sustain the long-term, multilateral responses that are required to counter global warming and the degradation of the global environment.”

  • Radioactivity from Oil and Gas Wastewater Persists in Pennsylvania Stream Sediments

    “Treated oil and gas wastewater flows into a western Pennsylvania stream. A new study find stream sediments at disposal sites such as this one have radioactivity levels 650 times higher than at upstream sites.”

  • Renowned Biologist Sandra Steingraber, Miami Elected Officials, Health Professionals Release Major Scientific Studies Citing Fracking and Water Contamination Cases Food & Water Watch 20-1-18

    “Today Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava stood alongside nationally renowned biologist, author, and cancer survivor Dr. Sandra Steingraber to release a portion of a major new compilation of the scientific and medical findings citing water contamination and other harms related to fracking. The event was part of a lecture Dr. Steingraber was giving at Miami-Dade Community College.”

  • Florida Fracking Science compendium letter to officials 18-1-18

    “We write to share with you a new compilation and analysis of scientific, health, and investigative findings about unconventional oil and gas development, or fracking. We represent health professionals and scientists, both in our chapter in Florida and throughout the country, and we have followed closely the science and emerging data on this issue for many years. A rapidly growing body of evidence, including numerous studies published just in the past year, shows that drilling and fracking, as well as the disposal of fracking waste, threaten drinking water and put public health at risk.”

  •  Concerned Health Professionals of New York Compendium 5 : Water Excerpt Florida Launch 20-1-18

    “The following excerpts from the Fifth Edition of the Compendium, focused on water contamination, are published in advance of the full report given timely and important of the issue by state officials in Florida.”

  • Psychosocial implications of unconventional natural gas development Quality of life in Ohio’s Guernsey and Noble Counties

    “As unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) activities such as “fracking” have proliferated across the U.S., research has begun to examine their impacts on human life. Much scholarship has centered on possible health and environmental impacts. However, a range of plausible psychosocial impacts has begun to emerge. Utilizing grounded theory methods and data from qualitative interviews with residents of two counties in Appalachian Eastern Ohio (Guernsey and Noble), we examined the quality of life (QoL) impacts on residents, who live and work amid UNGD. QoL impacts were reported in five core categories, specifically psychological stress, social stress, environment, physical health, and traffic. Psychological stress was a particularly salient theme, as residents living near UNGD found themselves anxious about the uncertainties of fracking; frustrated by interactions with oil and gas industry officials; stressed about noise or light pollution; and, in some instances, facing the possibility of moving from the region.”

  • Exposure to ambient fine particulate matter and semen quality in Taiwan

    Key messages
    What is already known about this subject?
    ► The health effects of exposure to ambient
    fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution on
    semen quality are not clear.
    What are the new findings?
    ► We investigated the health effects of exposure
    to fine PM2.5 on semen quality.
    How might this impact on policy or clinical
    practice in the foreseeable future?
    ► Both short-term (a spermatogenic cycle,
    3-month) and long-term (2-year) exposure to
    PM2.5 is associated with a lower level of sperm
    normal morphology and a higher level of sperm
    ► Exposure to ambient PM2.5 air pollution may
    serve as a risk factor of male reproductive

  • Societal Implications of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development 

    Habib, S.; Hinojosa, M. S.; Hinojosa, R. (2017). Societal Implications of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development.  Advances in Chemical Pollution, Environmental Management and Protection: Environmental Issues Concerning Hydraulic Fracturing. Zachariah Hildenbrand & Kevin Schug, Eds. Publisher: Elsevier.


  •  Representation of Fracking in American Mainstream Newspapers

    Habib, S., & Hinojosa, M. S. (2016). Representation of Fracking in Mainstream American Newspapers. Environmental Practice18(02), 83–93. http://doi.org/10.1017/S1466046616000089


  • An assessment of the potential for the development of the shale gas industry in countries outside of North America

    “The revolution of shale gas in the United States (the US) has become a phenomenon at the beginning of the 21st century. It has been significantly influencing the United States’ economy and the global gas market. Like America,
    other countries have also been searching for shale gas. However, the conditions for developing this resource are very different among regions and nations. On the other hand, there are also many doubts, debates and even strong oppositions to the development of shale gas because of the complicated issues that arise regarding its extraction, and also due to the fact that its impacts are not fully known. Therefore, at present, the development of shale gas is still a big question for regions, countries that have potential and desires to exploit such resources. Although it is difficult to identify all necessary or sufficient conditions to develop shale gas, the experiences of the United States could be instructive for other countries. In this article, the potential development of shale gas in China and Europe is analyzed, which relies on the fundamental conditions considered as important factors for the success of
    the shale gas industry in the US. Through these analyses and we demonstrate the difficulty of developing this resource outside North America.”

  • Oil and gas wastewater leaves radium in Pennsylvania stream sediments Chemical & Engineering News

    “High levels of radium found downstream of treatment plants years after fracking wastewater disposal reportedly ended”

  • The potential for spills and leaks of contaminated liquids from shale gas developments

    Rapid growth of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas within the USA and the possibility of shale developments within Europe has created public concern about the risks of spills and leaks associated with the industry. Reports from the Texas Railroad Commission (1999 to 2015) and the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (2009 to 2015) were used to examine spill rates from oil and gas well pads. Pollution incident records for England and road transport incident data for the UK were examined as an analogue for potential offsite spills associated with transport for a developing shale industry. The Texas and Colorado spill data shows that the spill rate on the well pads has increased over the recorded time period. The most common spill cause was equipment failure. Within Colorado 33% of the spills recorded were found during well pad remediation and random site inspections. Based on data from the Texas Railroad Commission, a UK shale industry developing well pads with 10 lateral wells would likely experience a spill for every 16 well pads developed. The same well pad development scenario is estimated to require at least 2856 tanker movements over two years per well pad. Considering this tanker movement estimate with incident and spill frequency data from UK milk tankers, a UK shale industry would likely experience an incident on the road for every 12 well pads developed and a road spill for every 19 well pads developed. Consequently, should a UK shale industry be developed it is important that appropriate mitigation strategies are in place to minimise the risk of spills associated with well pad activities and fluid transportation movements.”

  • Environment Agency water quality document 2018

    Water keeps us alive, drives our economy and sustains wildlife. Having good water quality, managed in a
    way that makes sure the country is more resilient to flood and drought, is essential. As the environmental regulator the Environment Agency needs to understand the complex natural and man-made systems that allow people to water crops, wash cars, take showers and drink healthy tap water wherever they live in England. This means close partnership working with water companies, farmers, businesses and environmental organisations. Over the last 30 years, there has been good progress following more than a century of poorly regulated industrial practices. England has the cleanest bathing waters since records began, serious pollution incidents are steadily declining and rivers that were biologically dead are reviving. Today, the environment we live and work in faces new challenges. Climate change is causing more extreme weather, extended periods of drought punctuated by more intense rainfall events are set to become increasingly normal. It’s time to redouble our efforts. There are still far too many serious pollution incidents, 317 to water in 2016. Unacceptable levels of phosphorus in over half of English rivers, usually due to sewage effluent and pollution from farm land, chokes wildlife as algal blooms use up their oxygen. Groundwater quality is currently deteriorating. This vital source of drinking water is often heavily polluted with nitrates, mainly from agriculture. Water companies then have to treat water from different sources to make it safe to drink.”

  • Health Effects of Fracking: Patricia De Marco 2016

    A powerpoint presentation by Patricia De Marco about the health effects of fracking.

  • Report on Public Health and Safety Risks of Oil and Gas Facilities in Los Angeles County

    “Oil and gas development in the Los Angeles Basin presents unique public health and safety concerns, because some oil and gas reserves lie beneath densely populated urban areas. Future production from these natural reserves will primarily come from existing oil fields, with some potential for the development of undiscovered oil and gas resources using conventional or unconventional methods. This report is intended to provide local policy‐makers with an overview of relevant public health research and investigations. It concludes with an overview of measures to reduce potential health impacts.”  

  • Beyond opposition and acceptance examining public perceptions of the environmental and health impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction

    The rapid development of unconventional oil and gas (hereafter UOG) resources, from tight sands, shales and coal seams using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques, is a growing international energy policy concern. The potential profitability of UOG, as revealed in the shale boom occurring in the US, has popularised so-called fracking globally. Aside from the USA, countries such as China, Argentina, Algeria, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Russia and Brazil (in descending order of resource magnitude) have all embarked upon shale development programmes [1], whilst smaller reserves in Europe (e.g. Denmark, the UK and Poland) have estimated net profitability and political support for extraction activities. Political support for UOG is motivated by energy security of supply, rural economic regeneration and taxation revenue concerns. UOG development is, however, banned in some countries (e.g. Scotland, Ireland and Germany), and within some regional/sub-federal administrations (e.g. New York, Maryland in the USA, or Victoria in Australia). Others have moratoria in place (e.g. New South Wales in Australia) in light of documented environmental and health impacts. Government-level action to block UOG development is often motivated by lack of trust in oil and gas industry actions to protect local communities from harm [2], and this, in turn, is influenced by public perceptions of the economic, social, environmental and health implications of the technology at local, national and international scales.

  • Petroleum – Veterinary Toxicology (Third Edition) – Chapter 50 Abstract

    Interesting abstract from a toxicology chapter in a veterinary book which talks about the hazards to animals and their role as sentinels for the impact of such health hazards on humans.

  • Environmental Justice and Fracking : A review

    Extensive research over the last five years has demonstrated that those who live near hydraulic fracturing wells and their associated infrastructure are at risk of a variety of health problems. Along with knowledge of these risks comes the ethical question of who is bearing these risks and how decisions are made about who bears the risks. This article reviews how environmental justice scholars have addressed the ethical concerns raised by the fracking boom. It draws out how this work relates to the three main types of environmental justice: distributive, procedural and recognition-based environmental justice.

  • Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health professionals of New York Fracking Compendium version 5

    Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking
    (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction) Fifth Edition
    March 2018


  • The Regulation of Risk: the case of fracking in the UK and the Netherlands

    “The precautionary principle was developed in environmental politics as a guiding mechanism for governments where new technologies, products, and processes produced potential health or environmental problems but where scientific evidence could not explain why. Anecdotal evidence of fracking suggests that it might cause water pollution or subsidence, but the scientific evidence to support this proposition is not yet in place. This paper examines the actions of the UK and Dutch governments toward fracking. Although both governments have adopted the precautionary principle into national law, neither has directly invoked it in the field of fracking, relying instead on more conventional scientific understandings of risk. In line with other papers in Science and Public Policy, this article provides a comparative analytical analysis of scientific policy regulation. It does so by arguing that while notionally subscribed to the precautionary principle, the UK and Dutch authorities have been reluctant to use it.”

  • Prenatal Exposure to Unconventional Oil and Gas Operation Chemical Mixtures Altered Mammary Gland Development in Adult Female Mice

    “Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations, which combine hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and directional drilling, involve the use of hundreds of chemicals, including many with endocrine disrupting properties. Two previous studies examined mice exposed during early development to a 23-chemical mixture of UOG compounds (UOG-MIX) commonly used or produced in the process. Both male and female offspring exposed prenatally to one or more doses of UOG-MIX displayed alterations to endocrine organ function and serum hormone concentrations. We hypothesized that prenatal UOG-MIX exposure would similarly disrupt development of the mouse mammary gland. Female C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to ~3, ~30, ~ 300, or ~3000 mg/kg/d UOG-MIX from gestational day 11 to birth. Although no effects were observed on the mammary glands of these females before puberty, in early adulthood, females exposed to 300 or 3000 mg/kg/d UOG-MIX developed more dense mammary epithelial ducts; females exposed to 3 mg/kg/d UOG-MIX had an altered ratio of apoptosis to proliferation in the mammary epithelium. Furthermore, adult females from all UOGMIX–treated groups developed intraductal hyperplasia that resembled terminal end buds (i.e., highly proliferative structures typically seen at puberty). These results suggest that the mammarygland is sensitive to mixtures of chemicals used in UOG production at exposure levels that are
    environmentally relevant. The effect of these findings on the long-term health of the mammary gland, including its lactational capacity and its risk of cancer, should be evaluated in future studies.”

  • Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

    “The Industrial Revolution, which brought together large-scale coal-based industries like mining, steel, pottery, and textiles, helped create the foundation of modern society and wealth. At the same time, the early industrial economies that formed in this era were also associated with brutal working and living conditions. Our research, recently accepted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that areas where coal was king may still be feeling the effects.”

  • Don’t Frack With Our Health Breast Cancer Action

    “Breast Cancer Action opposes hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” because the practice exposes people to endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic chemicals that are linked to breast cancer.”

  • Exploring the endocrine activity of air pollutants associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction

    “Conclusion: These results provide a basis for prioritizing future primary studies regarding the endocrine disrupting properties of UOG air pollutants, including exposure research in wildlife and humans. Further, we recommend systematic reviews of the health impacts of exposure to specific chemicals, and comprehensive environmental sampling of a broader array of chemical”


  • Biological Embedding,the air we breathe and carcinogenesis

    A editorial from The Lancet about a paper which describes the impact of pollution exposure at the prenatal stage and the implication for long life health impacts .

  • Placental promoter methylation of DNA repair genes and prenatal exposure to particulate air pollution_ an ENVIRONAGE cohort study

    “Interpretation Transplacental in-utero exposure to particulate matter is associated with an increased overall placental mutation rate (as measured with Alu), which occurred in concert with epigenetic alterations in key DNA repair and tumour suppressor genes. Our results suggest that exposure to air pollution can induce changes to fetal and neonatal DNA repair capacity. Future studies will be essential to elucidate whether these changes persist and have a role in carcinogenic insults later in life.”

  • Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals _ Breast Cancer UK

    This article explains what an endocrine disrupting agent is and how it can impact on your health. This is one of the links to the which have been postulated for the potential impact of fracking on breast cancer .

  • Public Health and Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction Including Fracking Global Lessons from a Scottish Government Review

    “Unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOGE) including fracking for shale gas is underway in North America on a large scale, and in Australia and some other countries. It is viewed as a major source of global energy needs by proponents. Critics consider fracking and UOGE an immediate and long-term threat to global, national, and regional public health and climate. Rarely have governments
    brought together relatively detailed assessments of direct and indirect public health risks associated with fracking and weighed these against potential benefits to inform a national debate on whether to pursue this energy route. The Scottish government has now done so in a wide-ranging consultation underpinned by a variety of reports on unconventional gas extraction including fracking. This paper analyses the Scottish government approach from inception to conclusion, and from procedures to outcomes. The reports commissioned by the Scottish government include a comprehensive review dedicated specifically to public health as well as reports on climate change, economic impacts, transport, geology, and decommissioning. All these reports are relevant to public health, and taken together offer a comprehensive review of existing evidence. The approach is unique globally when compared with UOGE assessments conducted in the USA, Australia, Canada, and England. The review process builds a useful evidence base although it is not without flaws. The process approach, if not the content, offers a framework that may have merits globally.”

  • Ambient Nonmethane Hydrocarbon Levels Along Colorado’s Northern Front Range_Acute and Chronic Health Risks

    “Oil and gas (O&G) facilities emit air pollutants that are potentially a major health risk for nearby populations. We characterized prenatal through adult health risks for acute (1 h) and chronic (30 year) residential inhalation exposure scenarios to nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) for these populations. We used ambient air sample results to estimate and compare risks for four residential scenarios. We found that air pollutant concentrations increased with proximity to an O&G facility, as did health risks. Acute hazard indices for neurological (18), hematological (15), and developmental (15) health effects indicate that populations living within 152 m of an O&G facility could experience these health effects from inhalation exposures to benzene and alkanes. Lifetime excess cancer risks exceeded 1 in a million for all scenarios. The cancer risk estimate of 8.3 per 10 000 for populations living within 152m of an O&G facility exceeded the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 1 in 10 000 upper threshold. These findings
    indicate that state and federal regulatory policies may not be protective of health for populations residing near O&G facilities.
    Health risk assessment results can be used for informing policies”

  • Risks to CHILDREN at Day Care Centers & Schools 2018

    “Did you know that toxic or dangerous emissions are released into the air at every stage of shale gas development or fracking? Emissions are released from well pads, pipelines, condensate tanks, compressor and metering stations, and processing plants. Some are planned emissions, others are leaks, or accidents. These emissions contain dangerous chemicals along with very small airborne particles called particulate matter (PM). Children in day care centers and schools near shale gas development may breathe in these air pollutants.”

  • Human Health Effects of Coal Seam Gas Activities – A Study Design Framework

    Unconventional natural gas (UNG) production activities in Australia are dominated by coal seam gas (CSG) in New South Wales and Queensland. A 2014 report by the NSW Chief Scientist on managing environmental and human health risks from CSG activities identified potential risks to the environment (air, soil, water) and risks and uncertainties around human health from emissions arising from CSG activities (OCSE 2014). The report concluded that the risks can be managed through regulation and monitoring. Despite this finding, concerns about possible health effects continue to be voiced in communities with CSG development and more widely. Acknowledging the concern over the potential health impacts of CSG activity, CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and
    Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) and the Queensland Alliance for Environmental Health Sciences(QAEHS) have funded the first steps of a study design projectthat will investigate the influence of CSG activity in Australia on human health.”

  • Frackers on your doorstep are bad for your health – Jenny Jones

    Green Party member of the House of Lords statement on setback distances.

  • Fracking the immune system EurekAlert! Science News

    “Among predictions of a second fracking boom in the US, the first evidence that chemicals found in ground water near fracking sites can impair the immune system will be published in Toxicological Sciences on May 1. The study, performed in mice, suggests that exposure to fracking chemicals during pregnancy may diminish female offspring’s ability to fend of diseases, like multiple sclerosis.”

  • Developmental Exposure to a Mixture of 23 Chemicals Associated with Unconventional Oil and Gas Operations alters the Immune System of Mice

    “Chemicals used in unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations have the potential to cause adverse biological effects, but this has not been thoroughly evaluated. A notable knowledge gap is their impact on development and function of the immune system. Herein, we report an investigation of whether developmental exposure to a mixture of chemicals associated with UOG operations affects the development and function of the immune system. We used a previously characterized mixture of 23 chemicals associated with UOG, and which was demonstrated to affect reproductive and developmental endpoints in mice. C57Bl/6 mice were maintained throughout pregnancy and during lactation on water containing two concentrations of this 23-chemical mixture, and the immune system of male and female adult offspring was assessed. We comprehensively examined the cellularity of primary and secondary immune organs, and used three different disease models to probe potential immune effects: house dust mite-induced allergic airway disease, influenza A virus infection, and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In all three disease models, developmental exposure altered frequencies of certain T cell sub-populations in female, but not male, offspring. Additionally, in the EAE model disease onset occurred earlier and was more severe in females. Our findings indicate that developmental exposure to this mixture had persistent immunological effects that differed by sex, and exacerbated responses in an experimental model of autoimmune encephalitis. These observations suggest that developmental exposure to complex mixtures of water contaminants, such as those derived from UOG operations, could contribute to immune dysregulation and disease later in

  • Prenatal Exposure to Unconventional Oil and Gas Chemical Mixtures Altered Mammary Gland Development in Adult Mice

    “Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations, which combine hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and directional drilling, involve the use of hundreds of chemicals, including many with endocrine disrupting properties. Two previous studies examined mice exposed during early development to a 23-chemical mixture of UOG compounds (UOG-MIX) commonly used or produced in the process.
    Both male and female offspring exposed prenatally to one or more doses of UOG-MIX displayed alterations to endocrine organ function and serum hormone concentrations. We hypothesized that prenatal UOG-MIX exposure would similarly disrupt development of the mouse mammary gland. Female C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to ~3, ~30, ~ 300, or ~3000 mg/kg/d UOG-MIX from gestational day 11 to birth. Although no effects were observed on the mammary glands of these females before puberty, in early adulthood, females exposed to 300 or 3000 mg/kg/d UOG-MIX developed more dense mammary epithelial ducts; females exposed to 3 mg/kg/d UOG-MIX had an altered ratio of apoptosis to proliferation in the mammary epithelium. Furthermore, adult females from all UOGMIX–treated groups developed intraductal hyperplasia that resembled terminal end buds (i.e., highly proliferative structures typically seen at puberty). These results suggest that the mammary gland is sensitive to mixtures of chemicals used in UOG production at exposure levels that are environmentally relevant. The effect of these findings on the long-term health of the mammary gland, including its lactational capacity and its risk of cancer, should be evaluated in future studies.”

  • Frack Free United – Health Impacts

    A summary document outlining the health effects of fracking.



  • Hormone Disrupting Chemicals : Slow Progress to Regulation

    “Some 800 chemicals are known or suspected to interfere with hormone receptors, synthesis, or conversion at some dose. These endocrine disrupting chemicals—for example, phthalatesand parabens—are present in small quantities in scores of industrial and consumer goods, including children’s toys, food, pesticides, personal care products, and almost all plastics. Only a fraction have been investigated for evidence of harm to human and animal health. A few have been banned: bisphenol A in products for infants in Europe, the US, and Canada; and some parabens in cosmetics in those countries and Japan. France bans bisphenol A in materials that come into contact with food.”

  • Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks: Preliminary opinion on the public health impacts and risks resulting from onshore oil and gas exploration

    “The SCHEER was requested to assess public health risks resulting from onshore oil and gas exploration and extraction activities on a commercial scale in the EU, and to identify knowledge gaps. Emissions from onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation include biocides, scale and corrosion inhibitors, oxygen scavengers, surfactants, and various hydrocarbons such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs, like some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, toluene etc.), as well as particulate matter and noise.
    Some of these environmental factors are recognised carcinogens or contribute to the risk of other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular or neurological effects. A few studies have documented that exposures can be higher in the exploration, compared to the extraction phase of oil and gas. Few epidemiological studies have tried to characterise the possible impact of emissions from
    onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation on human health; the vast majority of these studies have been conducted outside the EU, generally in the USA. They have relied on relatively crude exposure estimates, which is likely to lead to attenuation of dose
    response functions. These studies indicate that the risk of some cancers and of adverse birth outcomes may be increased in populations living around onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites. The corresponding level of evidence is weak to moderate so that these associations cannot be ignored. Another possible consequence of onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation relates to seismic activity, for which the level of evidence is moderate to strong. 

    The SCHEER suggests addressing these knowledge gaps by undertaking (i) a centralised and harmonised well-based inventory of all oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites in the EU; (ii) analytical and modelling studies that identify, quantify and characterise exposure mixtures and their levels in the vicinity of these sites; (iii) targeted biomonitoring studies of populations potentially at risk; (iv) large-scale epidemiological studies with accurate exposure assessment.

    In the absence of additional strong evidence from such new well-conducted studies, it can be assumed that oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites do constitute a risk for the health of populations living around them. Given the number of studies around American oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities conducted so far, the scientific evidence pointing towards possible effects of these activities and the presence of similar onshore sites in the EU, the SCHEER expresses its surprise at the very poor scientific assessment of the possible effects of these activities in the EU.”

  • The State of the Environment: Water Quality 2018

    “Fracking for shale gas could bring risks to the quality of both surface and groundwaters as well as placing a new demand on water resources in some areas. The main concerns involve accidental spills or leaks, particularly if these should occur in the subsurface. The onshore oil and gas industry has a long history in England but strong regulation around techniques such as fracking will need to continue in order to minimise such risks.”

  • Environmental and Individual PAH Exposures near Rural Natural Gas Extraction

    “Natural gas extraction (NGE) has expanded rapidly in the United States in recent years. Despite concerns, there is little information about the effects of NGE on air quality or personal exposures of people living or working nearby. Recent research suggests NGE emits polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into air.
    This study used low-density polyethylene passive samplers to measure concentrations of PAHs in air near active (n ¼ 3) and proposed (n ¼ 2) NGE sites. At each site, two concentric rings of air samplers were placed around the active or proposed well pad location. Silicone wristbands were used to assess personal PAH exposures of participants (n ¼ 19) living or working near the sampling sites. All samples were analyzed for 62 PAHs using GC-MS/MS, and point sources were estimated using the fluoranthene/pyrene isomer ratio. PPAH was significantly higher in air at active NGE sites (Wilcoxon rank sum test, p < 0.01).
    PAHs in air were also more petrogenic (petroleum-derived) at active NGE sites. This suggests that PAH mixtures at active NGE sites may have been affected by direct emissions from petroleum sources at these sites. PPAH was also significantly higher in wristbands from participants who had active NGE wells on their properties than from participants who did not (Wilcoxon rank sum test, p < 0.005). There was a significant positive correlation between PPAH in participants’ wristbands and PPAH in air measured closest to participants’ homes or workplaces (simple linear regression, p < 0.0001). These findings suggest that living or working near an active NGE well may increase personal PAH exposure. This work alsosupports the utility of the silicone wristband to assess personal PAH exposure.”

  • List of the Harmed:March 2018

    This is a submission from the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate change. 186 pages long list of names…

  • A Review of the Public Health Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development

    “The Wingspread Declaration on the Precautionary Principle counsels that ‘When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not established scientifically”

  • Endocrine-Disrupting Activities and Organic Contaminants Associated with Oil and Gas Operations in Wyoming Groundwater

    Unconventional oil and natural gas (UOG) operations couple horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing to access previously
    inaccessible fossil fuel deposits. Hydraulic fracturing, a common form of stimulation, involves the high-pressure injection
    of water, chemicals, and sand to fracture the target layer and release trapped natural gas and/or oil. Spills and/or discharges
    of wastewater have been shown to impact surface, ground, and drinking water. The goals of this study were to characterize
    the endocrine activities and measure select organic contaminants in groundwater from conventional oil and gas (COG)
    and UOG production regions of Wyoming. Groundwater samples were collected from each region, solid-phase extracted,
    and assessed for endocrine activities (estrogen, androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid, and thyroid receptor agonism and
    antagonism), using reporter gene assays in human endometrial cells. Water samples from UOG and conventional oil areas
    exhibited greater ER antagonist activities than water samples from conventional gas areas. Samples from UOG areas tended
    to exhibit progesterone receptor antagonism more often, suggesting there may be a UOG-related impact on these endocrine
    activities. We also report UOG-specifc contaminants in Pavillion groundwater extracts, and these same chemicals at high
    concentrations in a local UOG wastewater sample. A unique suite of contaminants was observed in groundwater from a
    permitted drinking water well at a COG well pad and not at any UOG sites; high levels of endocrine activities (most notably,
    maximal estrogenic activity) were noted there, suggesting putative impacts on endocrine bioactivities by COG. As such, we
    report two levels of evidence for groundwater contamination by both UOG and COG operations in Wyoming.

  • ‘Failings across the board’ cause too many hydrocarbon releases, says HSE

    The offshore oil and gas industry is not doing enough to reduce the number of hydrocarbon releases (HCRs) occurring in the North Sea, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.”

  • Fracking and Health British Medical Journal  Editorial

    “The scale of harm to health is uncertain, but the danger of exacerbating climate change is not”

  • Drilling and Production Activity Related to Unconventional Gas Development and Severity of Preterm Birth

    ”  CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence of differences in phase- and trimester-specific associations of UGD and PTB and indication of particular risk associated with extremely preterm birth. Future studies should focus on quantifying specific chemical and nonchemical stressors associated with UGD. “

  • Unconventional Oil and Gas Chemicals and Wastewater-Impacted Water Samples Promote Adipogenesis via PPARγ-Dependent and Independent Mechanisms in 3T3-L1 Cells


    •Tested ability of unconventional oil & gas (UOG) chemicals to promote adipogenesis
    •UOG wastewater and common chemical mixtures promote adipogenesis.
    •UOG-impacted water samples promoted fat cell development at diluted concentrations.
    •Fat cell development occurred through PPARγ-dependent and independent mechanisms.
    •UOG wastewater may impact metabolic health at environmentally relevant levels.
  • Analysis of a Gas Explosion in Dimock PA (USA) during Fracking Operations in the Marcellus Gas Shale

    On January 1, 2009, a concrete slab covering a water-pump vault of a water well 400 m north of a Marcellus gas well in Dimock, Pennsylvania, USA was reported to have split into three pieces while being overturned.It was suggested that the cycling on of a water pump sparked the deflagration of a methane-air mixture causing the slab to overturn. Here, the conditions necessary to generate an explosion consistent with evidence, mainly a split and overturned concrete slab unmarked by soot or other evidence of flame, are analyzed. Using more than one approach, calculations show that the maximum pressure to lift the concrete slab was roughly 0.3 bar. Considering among others the flammable range of methane, the explosion pressure as a function of equivalence ratio, the presence of methane gradients inside the vault, the absence of soot and possible ignition sources, the analysis did not yield a well-defined, credible gas explosion scenario to explain the observed damage, although the possibility cannot be ruled out with

    absolute certainty.”

  • Measurement of Diesel Combustion-Related Air Pollution Downwind of an Experimental Unconventional Natural Gas Operations Site

    Conclusions: Marked elevations of BC and NO2 concentrations were observed in downwind proximity to industrial fracking equipment and traffic sources. This suggests that exposure to diesel engine exhaust emissions from  fracking equipment may present a significant risk to people working on UNG sites over extended time periods. The short time resolution of the portable instruments used enabled identification of likely sources of occupational and environmental exposure to combustion-related air pollutants.”

  • How Extractive Industries affect Health : Political Economy Underpinnings and Pathways

    “Accelerating in the postwar consumer era, market and profit-driven growth—accompanied by militarism and magnified by neoliberal globalization since the 1980s—has generated evergrowing demand for all sorts of goods, with little regard for the health, environmental, and resource depletion consequences.”

  • Rethink Potential Risks of Toxic Emissions from Natural Gas and Oil Mining

    “Studies have showed the increasing environmental and public health risks of toxic emissions from natural gas and oil mining, which have become even worse as fracking is becoming a dominant approach in current natural gas extraction. However, governments and communities often overlook the serious air pollutants from oil and gas mining, which are often quantified lower than the significant levels of adverse health effects. Therefore, we are facing a challenging dilemma: how could we clearly understand the potential risks of air toxics from natural gas and oil mining.”

  • Assessing Unconventional Natural Gas Development: Understanding Risks in the Context of the EU

    “Unconventional natural gas development (UNGD, e.g. shale gas) poses a threat to the environment and human health. While the Member States of the European Union (EU) decide whether to develop this resource, they require evidence to assess the associated risks. Much of the evidence regarding the risks (e.g. contamination, exposure, disturbance) comes from the US, and we argue this evidence cannot be used by the Member States to conduct risk assessments due to demographic differences, geological differences, and differences in regulation. The EU, as a whole, has recognized their need for evidence and has funded research partnerships to explore the environmental effects of UNGD. We argue that such research efforts need to be extended further in order to address the gaps in human health studies and to develop comprehensive environmental baseline studies.”

  • Unconventional Oil and Gas in France_ From Popular Distrust to Politicization of the Underground

    Interesting article about the French approach to the banning of Fracking…

  • The 2016 Global and National Burden of Diabetes Mellitus attributable to PM 2·5 Air Pollution

    “The global toll of diabetes attributable to PM2·5 air pollution is significant. Reduction in exposure will yield substantial health benefits.”

  • Potential Impacts of Emissions Associated with Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction on UK Air Quality and Human Health

    “Here, we report the first results of model sensitivity simulations to assess the potential impacts of emissions related to future activities linked to unconventional hydrocarbon extraction (fracking) in the UK on air pollution and human health. These simulations were performed with the Met Office Air Quality in the Unified Model, a new air quality-forecasting model, andincluded a wide range of extra emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) to reflect emissions from the full life cycle of fracking-related activities and simulate the impacts of these compounds on levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3). These model simulations highlight that increases in NOx and VOC emissions associated with unconventionalhydrocarbon extraction could lead to large local increases in the monthly means of daily 1-h maximum NO2 of up to + 30 ppb and decreases in the maximum daily 8-h mean O3 up to − 6 ppb in the summertime. Broadly speaking, our simulations indicate increases in both of these compounds across the UK air shed throughout the year. Changes in the 1-h maximum of NO2 and 8-h mean of O3 are particularly important for their human health impacts. These respective changes in NO2 and O3 would contribute to approximately 110 (range 50–530) extra premature-deaths a year across the UK based on the use of recently reported concentration response functions for changes in annual average NO2 and O3 exposure. As such, we conclude that the release of emissions of VOCs and NOx be highly controlled to prevent deleterious health impacts.”

  • Association between Oklahoma Earthquakes and Anxiety-Related Google Search Episodes

    “These findings suggest that the recent increase in Oklahoma earthquakes has elicited a psychological response that
    may have implications for public health and regulatory policy.”

  • The Health Implications of Unconventional Natural Gas Development in Pennsylvania

    We investigate the health impacts of unconventional natural gas development of Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania between 2001 and 2013 by merging well permit data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with a database of all inpatient hospital admissions. After comparing changes in hospitalization rates over time for air pollution‐sensitive diseases in counties with unconventional gas wells to changes in hospitalization rates in nonwell counties, we find a significant association between shale gas development and hospitalizations for pneumonia among the elderly, which is consistent with higher levels of air pollution resulting from unconventional natural gas development. We note that the lack of any detectable impact of shale gas development on younger populations may be due to unobserved factors contemporaneous with drilling, such as migration.”

  • Country Living Dirty Air: Oil and Gas Pollution in Rural America

    “Thanks to the shale boom, oil and gas development has expanded rapidly in many regions of the United States. The oil and gas industry has industrialized areas that were, and still largely are, rural and agricultural communities. In the process, industry has polluted these communities—rural except for oil and gas—with methane and associated toxics heretofore associated with urban areas. This report highlights the health impacts experienced by several of these rural communities as a result of the increased air pollution from oil and gas operations. “

  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Shale Gas  Submission:Fracking is it Worth the Risk?

    “I would like to thank you for allowing this late submission to the APPG on Shale Gas. As a consultant in Occupational medicine I would like to comment on the “cumulative effects” of the hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) industry . I understand this to mean the impact of the industry proliferating into a widespread production phase”

  • Associations of Unconventional Natural Gas Development with Depression Symptoms and Disordered Sleep in Pennsylvania

    “Environmental and community factors may influence the development or course of depression and sleep problems. We evaluated the association of unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) with depression symptoms and disordered sleep diagnoses using the Patient Health Questionnaire-8 and electronic health record data among Geisinger adult primary care patients in Pennsylvania. Participants received a retrospective metric for UNGD at their residence (very low, low, medium, and high) that incorporated dates and durations of well development, distance from patient homes to wells, and well characteristics. Analyses included 4,762 participants with no (62%), mild (23%), moderate (10%), and moderately severe or severe (5%) depression symptoms in 2014–2015 and 3,868 disordered sleep diagnoses between 2009–2015. We observed associations between living closer to more and bigger wells and depression symptoms, but not disordered sleep diagnoses in models weighted to account for sampling design and participation. High UNGD (vs. very low) was associated with depression symptoms in an adjusted negative binomial model (exponentiated coefficient = 1.18, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04–1.34). High and low UNGD (vs. very low) were associated with depression symptoms (vs. none) in an adjusted multinomial logistic model. Our findings suggest that UNGD may be associated with adverse mental health in Pennsylvania.”

  • Medact Report:Royal College of General Practitioners divests from fossil fuels! _

    ‘As extreme heat puts the NHS under stress GPs have called time on the climate-wrecking fossil fuel industry. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is ending its investments in all fossil fuel companies. In doing so it sends a powerful statement to society – it is no longer acceptable to be associated with the industry that has brought us to the brink of a public health emergency. The GP’s announcement comes hot on the heels of a decision by the American Medical Association (AMA) to also cut ties with gas, oil and coal companies.’

  • AQEG  Shale_Gas_Extraction_Advice: Potential Air Quality Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in the UK.

    Recent exploratory studies have indicated that there are significant UK on-shore shale gas reserves which have the potential to be accessed by hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”). The objective of this report was to review the available evidence base associated with air emissions from shale gas extraction activities, and draw conclusions regarding the potential for impacts on air quality in the UK. Recommendations have then been made with the aim of supporting policy makers, and ensuring that a suitably robust and comprehensive evidence base2 is available to support decisions.
  • Association Between Ambient Air Pollution and Cardiac Morpho-Functional Phenotypes

    “The association between ambient air pollution and adverse cardiac phenotypic changes in individuals without prevalent cardiovascular disease suggests that air pollution should be recognized as a major modifiable risk factor that needs to be targeted via public health measures.

     These cardiac morphological alterations are apparent despite relatively low exposure levels meeting the current air quality standards, making a strong case to double efforts to control emission of the noxious pollutants.”

  • Letter to Dr Sarah Wollaston-MP

    ‘We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the Health and Social Care Select Committee undertake a comprehensive review of all current available evidence related to the health impacts of unconventional oil and gas production in the UK, in particular hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction (also known as fracking).’


  • The Intensification of the Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing

    “Unconventional oil and gas exploration in the United States has experienced a period of rapid growth, followed
    by several years of limited production due to falling and low natural gas and oil prices. Throughout this transition,
    the water use for hydraulic fracturing and wastewater production in major shale gas and oil production regions
    has increased; from 2011 to 2016, the water use per well increased up to 770%, while flowback and produced
    water volumes generated within the first year of production increased up to 1440%. The water-use intensity (that
    is, normalized to the energy production) increased ubiquitously in all U.S. shale basins during this transition period. The steady increase of the water footprint of hydraulic fracturing with time implies that future unconventional oil and gas operations will require larger volumes of water for hydraulic fracturing, which will result in larger produced oil and gas waste water volumes.”

  •  A Health Impact Assessment for Uncoventional Oil and Gas in Scotland 

    “Evidence relating to the current regulatory framework for UOG development in Scotland
    suggested that there are inadequacies. Additional potential measures to mitigate UOG-related
    hazards and limit potential health impacts were therefore identified in relation to planning and
    regulation as well as for industry and regulator best practice, stakeholder engagement, local
    health impact assessment, and monitoring and evaluation.
    If UOG development is permitted in Scotland in future, the evidence reviewed to date on UOG
    hazards, potential health impacts and wider health implications, although lacking in quantity,
    quality and consistency, would justify adopting a precautionary approach. This should be
    proportionate to the scale of the hazards and to the potential health impacts, both adverse and
    beneficial. It could be based on adopting a range of mitigation measures involving operational
    best practice, regulatory frameworks and community engagement.” 

  • Setback Distances for Unconventional Oil and Gas Development Delphi Study Results

    “The results suggest that if setbacks are used the distances should be greater than ¼ of a mile from human activity, and that additional setbacks should be used for settings where vulnerable groups are found, including schools, daycare centers, and hospitals. The lack of consensus on setback distances between 1/4 and 2 miles reflects the limited health and exposure studies and need to better define exposures and track health.”

  • The Problem with Cooking with (Fracked) Gas : BU Today Boston University

    An interview with Nathan Phillips Researcher at Boston University. The link to the conference and all the speeches can be found on Links page.


  • PA Secret Fracking Chemicals Report PFPI.

    “Between 2013 and 2017, drilling companies injected at least one hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) chemical with an identity kept hidden from the public into more than 2,500 unconventional natural gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania, amounting to 55 percent of the more than 4,500 unconventional gas wells drilled in the state during the five-year period, primarily in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. In total, companies injected secret fracking chemicals 13,632 times into 2,515 wells. Exemptions in Pennsylvania law virtually guarantee that the use of secret chemicals in the state’s oil and gas wells was higher than detailed in this report.”

  •  Western Australia : Fracking Open Letter

    An Open Letter to the Western Australian Government calling for a permanent ban on fracking.

  • Accumulation of Marcellus Formation Oil and Gas Wastewater Metals in Freshwater Mussel Shells

    “For several decades, high-salinity water brought to the surface during oil and gas (O&G) production has been treated and discharged to waterways under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. In Pennsylvania  USA, a portion of the treated O&G wastewater discharged to streams from 2008 to 2011 originated from unconventional (Marcellus) wells. We collected freshwater mussels, Elliptiodilatata and Elliptio complanata, both upstream and downstream of a NPDES-permitted facility, and for comparison, we also collected mussels from the Juniata and Delaware Rivers that have no reported O&G discharge. We observed changes in both the Sr/Cashell and 87Sr/86Srshell in shell samples collected downstream of the facility that corresponded to the time period of greatest Marcellus wastewater disposal (2009−2011). Importantly, the changes in Sr/Cashell and 87Sr/86Srshell shifted toward values characteristic of O&G wastewater produced from the Marcellus Formation. Conversely, shells collected upstream of the discharge and from waterways without treatment facilities showed lower variability and no trend in either Sr/Cashell or 87Sr/86Srshell with time (2008−2015). These findings suggest that (1) freshwater mussels may be used to monitor changes in water chemistry through time and help identify specific pollutant sources and (2) O&G contaminants likely bioaccumulated in areas of surface water disposal.”

  • Shale Gas Developmemt and Infant Health: Evidence from Pennsylvania

    “This research exploits the introduction of shale gas wells in Pennsylvania in response to growing controversy
    around the drilling method of hydraulic fracturing. Using detailed location data on maternal addresses and GIS coordinates of gas wells, this study examines singleton births to mothers residing close to a shale gas well from 2003 to 2010 in Pennsylvania. The introduction of drilling increased low birth weight and decreased term birth weight on average among mothers living within 2.5 km of a well compared to mothers living within 2.5 km of a permitted well. Adverse effects were also detected using measures such as small for gestational age and APGAR scores, while no effects on gestation periods were found. In the intensive margin, an additional well is associated with a 7 percent increase in low birth weight, a 5 g reduction in term birth weight and a 3 percent increase in premature birth. These results are robust to other measures of infant health, many changes in specification and falsification tests. These findings suggest that shale gas development poses significant risks to human health.”

  • A Community-based Evaluation of Proximity to Unconventional Oil and Gaswells, Drinking Water Contaminants and Health Symptoms in Ohio

    Over 4 million Americans live within 1.6 km of an unconventional oil and gas (UO&G) well, potentially placing them in the path of toxic releases. We evaluated relationships between residential proximity to UO&G wells and (1) water contamination and (2) health symptoms in an exploratory study. We analyzed drinking water samples from 66 Ohio households for 13 UO&G-related volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (e.g., benzene, disinfection  byproducts [DBPs]), gasoline-range organics (GRO), and diesel-range organics. We interviewed participants about health symptoms and calculated metrics capturing proximity to UO&G wells. Based on multivariable logistic regression, odds of detection of bromoform and dibromochloromethane in surface water decreased significantly as distance to nearest UO&G well increased (odds ratios [OR]: 0.28–0.29 per km). Similarly, distance to nearest well was significantly negatively correlated with concentrations of GRO and toluene in groundwater (rSpearman: −0.40 to −0.44) and with concentrations of bromoform and dibromochloromethane in surface water (rSpearman: −0.48 to −0.50). In our study population, those with higher inverse-distance-squared-weighted UO&G well counts within 5 km around the home were more likely to report experiencing general health symptoms (e.g. stress, fatigue) (OR: 1.52, 95%CI: 1.02–2.26). This exploratory study, though limited by small sample size and self-reported health symptoms, suggests that those in closer proximity to multiple UO&G wellsmay be more likely to experience environmental health impacts. Further, presence of brominated DBPs (linked to UO&G wastewater) raises the question of whether UO&G activities are impacting drinking water sources in the region. The findings from this study support expanded studies to advance knowledge of the potential for
    water quality and human health impacts; such studies could include a greater number of sampling sites, more
    detailed chemical analyses to examine source attribution, and objective health assessments.”

  • Comparitive Endocrinology Past Present and Future

    An interesting article about endocrine disruptors which mentions fracking fluids.

  • Noise Concerns of Residents living in Close Proximity to Hydraulic Fracturing Sites in Southwest Pensylvannia


    Objective: Noise associated with nontraditional gas industry (NTGI) sites (e.g., hydraulic fracturing well pads, compressor stations, processing plants) may create disturbances and anxiety in rural populations. This study evaluated levels of concern among residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania residing near NTGI sites.

    Design: Noise measurements were collected inside and outside residences, and surveys
    were administered to residents.

    Results: Daytime instantaneous sound levels ranged between 45.0 and 61.0 dBA. Dosimeter studies recorded day–night levels (Ldn) of 53.5–69.4 dBA outside and 37.5–50.1 dBA inside, exceeding United States Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Respondents indicated the NTGI noise disturbed their sleep, and the majority of respondents (96%) reported being worried about their overall health as a result of the noise.

    Conclusions: Health care professionals serving rural areas impacted by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) should be aware of potential noise stressors on the populations
    they serve.

  • Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Pediatric Asthma Hospitalizations in Pennsylvania


    • Unconventional natural gas development may be linked to pediatric asthma.

    • Specific air pollutants from drilling emissions may be driving these associations.

    • Associations remain for up to eight years after drilling begins in a community.”

  • Maryland is not for Shale ,Scientific and Public Anxieties of Predicting Health Impacts of Fracking

    “In 2011, Maryland established the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative to determine whether and how gas production in the state could be accomplished without causing unacceptable risks to public health, safety, natural resources, and the environment. This initiative required a statewide health impact assessment of unconventional natural gas development and production via hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking). Increasing  number of studies have shown that fracking has significant potential to impact health and non-health outcomes. However, because of its rapid development, there is a lack of substantive research related to the public health effects of fracking. I discuss my firsthand experiences as a medical anthropologist and public health researcher on a multi-disciplinary research team tasked with conducting Maryland’s first health impact assessment to determine the potential public health impacts associated with fracking. I focus on how fracking, as a relatively new economically viable source of energy and an emergent focus of study, brings about public and scientific anxieties, and how these anxieties shape subsequent environmental and health policy decision making processes. I reflect on the potential role of social scientists in matters of scientific knowledge production and resulting policy decisions and the broader implications of such engagement for public social science.”

  • Final Report Potential Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas Development and Production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland

    On October 18, 2013, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH), School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park to conduct an assessment of the potential public health impacts associated with drilling in the Marcellus Shale in Maryland and to provide a Marcellus Shale Public Health Report. This document is the final report. “

  • Fracking and Risky Behaviour: Evidence from Pennsylvania

    “Our findings indicate that Pennsylvania counties with fracking activities have higher rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections (7.8% and 2.6%, respectively), as well as higher prostitution related arrests (19.7%). We posit that changes in the labor market and associated impacts to income or composition of workers may play a role in the estimated effects, but we do not find evidence in support of these hypotheses.”

  • Doctors for the Environment Australia Oil and Gas Final Report

    “It is now recognised that the exploration and extraction of natural gas (methane) and oil from conventional and non-conventional sources poses many potential direct and indirect risks to human health and wellbeing. As recently as 2013, there were few peer-reviewed publications available in the health science literature upon which to assess the potential local, regional and global health related impacts associated with these industries. Over the last six years, however, public health and environmental science researchers and doctors have published over 1500 papers, with a substantial body of research findings, mainly from the United States where rapid and expansive development of gas and oil fields has occurred in close proximity to residential areas.”

  • Fracking and Water Contamination PSR leaflet

    ” The chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing include chemicals known to be toxic and
    dangerous to human health.

    In light of these facts and many other environmental impacts, Physicians for Social Responsibility calls for a ban on fracking, as well as a rapid transition to cleaner, healthier, carbon-free sources of energy. “

  • The Association between Natural Gas Well Activity and Specific Congenital
    Anomalies in Oklahoma, 1997–2009 

    Background: Natural gas drilling may pose multiple health risks, including congenital anomalies, through air pollutant emissions and contaminated water. Two recent studies have evaluated the relationship between natural gas activity and congenital anomalies, with both observing a positive relationship.

    Objectives: We aimed to evaluate whether residence near natural gas wells is associated with critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), neural tube defects (NTD), and oral clefts in Oklahoma, the third highest natural gas producing state in the US.

    Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study among singleton births in Oklahoma (n = 476,600) to
    evaluate natural gas activity and congenital anomalies. We calculated an inverse distance-squared weighted (IDW) score based on the number of actively producing wells within a two-mile radius of the maternal residence during the month of delivery. We used modified Poisson regression with robust error variance to estimate prevalence proportion ratios (PPR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association between tertiles of natural gas activity (compared to no wells) and CCHD, NTD, and oral clefts adjusted for maternal education.

    Results: We observed an increased, though imprecise, prevalence of NTDs among children with natural gas
    activity compared to children with no wells (2nd tertile PPR: 1.34, 95% CI: 0.93, 1.93; 3rd tertile PPR: 1.20, 95% CI: 0.82, 1.75). We observed no association with CCHD or oral clefts overall. Specific CCHDs of common truncus, transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary valve atresia and stenosis, tricuspid valve atresia and stenosis, interrupted aortic arch, and total anomalous pulmonary venous connection were increased among those living in areas with natural gas activity compared to those living in areas without activity, though not statistically significant.

    Discussion: Our results were similar to previous studies for NTDs and specific CCHDs. Future directions include evaluating the association between specific phases of the drilling process and congenital anomalies to better refine the relevant exposure period.

  • Succession of toxicity and microbiota in hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water in the Denver-Julesburg Basin

    “Hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water (FPW) samples were analyzed for toxicity and microbiome characterization over 220 days for a horizontally drilled well in the Denver-Julesberg (DJ) Basin in Colorado. Cytotoxicity, mutagenicity, and estrogenicity of FPW were measured via the BioLuminescence Inhibition Assay (BLIA), Ames II mutagenicity assay (AMES), and Yeast Estrogen Screen (YES). Raw FPW stimulated bacteria in BLIA, but were cytotoxic to yeast in YES. Filtered FPW stimulated cell growth in both BLIA and YES. Concentrating 25× by solid phase extraction (SPE) revealed significant toxicity throughout well production by BLIA, toxicity during the first 55 days of flowback by YES, and mutagenicity by AMES. The selective pressures of fracturing conditions (including toxicity) affected bacterial and archaeal communities, which were characterized by 16S rRNA gene V4V5 region sequencing. Conditions selected for thermophilic, anaerobic, halophilic bacteria and methanogenic archaea from the groundwater used for fracturing fluid, and from the native shale community. Trends in toxicity echoed the microbial community, which indicated distinct stages of early flowback water, a transition stage, and produced water. Biota in another sampled DJ Basin horizontal well resembled similarly aged samples from this well. However, microbial signatures were unique compared to samples from DJ Basin vertical wells, and wells from other basins. These data can inform treatability, reuse, and management decisions specific to the DJ Basin to minimize adverse environmental health and well production outcomes

  • Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks: Opinion on the Public Health Impact and Risks resulting from Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration Nov 2018

    “The SCHEER was requested to assess public health risks resulting from onshore oil and gas exploration and extraction activities on a commercial scale in the EU, and to identify knowledge gaps. Onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation can induce increased human exposure to biocides, scale and corrosion inhibitors, oxygen scavengers, surfactants, and various hydrocarbons such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), as well as particulate matter and noise in surrounding populations. Another consequence of onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation relates to seismic activity: the level of evidence linking this phenomenon to onshore oil and gas exploration and extraction is moderate to strong. Some of these environmental factors are recognised carcinogens or contribute to the risk of other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular or neurological illnesses.
    Epidemiological studies have tried to characterise the possible impact of emissions from onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation on human health; the vast majority of these studies are from outside the EU, generally the USA. They have relied on relatively imprecise exposure estimates, which is likely to lead to attenuation of dose-response functions. These studies indicate that the risk of haematological cancers and of preterm delivery may be higher in populations living around onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites in comparison to populations living further away. The corresponding level of evidence is weak to moderate. A complete quantified risk assessment cannot be undertaken given the existing limited knowledge base but existing risk assessment studies show some coherence with the associations found in epidemiological studies.
    The SCHEER is surprised at the very limited scientific assessment and monitoring of both the environment and people’s health near long-established onshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites in the EU, given the numerous studies conducted on similar American oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities and the amount of scientific evidence pointing towards possible adverse effects of these activities.
    The review undertaken by the SCHEER suggests a number of knowledge gaps that could be addressed through the following actions: (i) development of a centralised and harmonised inventory of all oil and gas exploration and exploitation sites in the EU; (ii) conduct of analytical and modelling studies that identify, quantify and characterise exposure mixtures and their levels in the vicinity of these sites; (iii) initiation of targeted biomonitoring and    exposure assessment studies of populations potentially at risk; (iv) implementation of largescale epidemiological studies with accurate exposure assessment and (v) carrying out of quantitative risk assessment studies.”

  • Residential Exposure to fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Incident Bbreast Cancer in a cohort of Canadian women

    Background: Air pollution has been classified as a human carcinogen based largely on epidemiological studies of lung cancer. Recent research suggests that exposure to ambient air pollution increases the risk of breast cancer.

    Methods: Our aim was to characterize associations between residential exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and the incidence of breast cancer in a cohort of 89,247 women enrolled in the Canadian National Breast Screening Study between 1980 and 1985. Vital status and incident cancers were determined through record linkage to the national registry data through 2005. Individual-level estimates of exposures to PM2.5 at baseline were derived from satellite observations. Six thousand five hundred three incident breast cancers were identified during follow-up. We classified menopausal status using self-reported information collected at baseline and by attained age (50, 52, and 54 years) as women were followed-up. We computed hazard ratios (HRs) and their 95%
    confidence intervals (CI) using age as the time axis. Models were adjusted for several individual risk factors, including reproductive history, as well as census-based neighborhood-level characteristics.

    Results: The median residential concentration of PM2.5 was 9.1 μg/m3 . In models adjusted for personal and contextual risk factors, a 10-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with an elevated risk of premenopausal (HR = 1.26; 95% CI = 0.99, 1.61) but not postmenopausal breast cancer (HR = 1.01; 95% CI = 0.94, 1.10). The elevated risk of premenopausal breast cancer from PM2.5 was only evident among those randomized to the screening arm of the study.

    Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that exposure to low concentrations of PM2.5 increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer.

  • Mapping Research on Resource Extraction and Health : A Scoping Review

    “Current research has been described as inadequate to understand and manage complex social and ecological influences of resource extraction on health. We conducted a scoping review of research on mining or oil & gas extraction and health, to identify patterns and gaps in existing scholarship. Journal articles, peer-reviewed books and book sections published 1995–2015 in English were included, including research on extraction and transport, but not processing, of resources. Based on titles and abstracts, we characterized documents by sector, affected population, health outcome, impact pathway, study objective, methodology and geographic focus. Of 2797 documents that met inclusion criteria, 85.6% focused on mining and 15.0% on oil & gas. The most common affected population was workers (67.9%), followed by surrounding communities (22.3%). The majority of documents (86.1%) characterized health impacts, while 11.4% described interventions. Methods were typically quantitative (84.0% vs. 4.7% qualitative) while impact pathways focused on direct toxic exposures (58.3% vs. 11.2% for ecosystem change and 3.8% for social determinants). Most sources (65.8%) focused on high income or upper-middle income countries. These patterns suggest a need for methodological pluralism, intervention-focused studies and attention to complex social-ecological system dynamics and neglected populations, especially in the global South.”