2019

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  • Relationships between Indicators of Cardiovascular Disease and Intensity of Oil and Natural Gas Activity in Northeastern Colorado

    “Conclusions: Despite limitations, our results support associations between O&G activity and augmentation index, SBP, DBP, IL-1β, and TNF-α. Our study was not able to  elucidate possible mechanisms or environmental stressors, such as air pollution and noise”

  • Deep evaporites and H2S springs in the Bowland Megabasin of North West England

    A scientific report about the high levels of selenium and H2S in the Bowland.

  • Geologist warns of Toxic Risks from Fracking the Bowland Shale

    An article from DrillorDrop about the high levels of selenium in the Bowland Shale.

  • Public Health Summary for the Island Gas Appeal

    APPEAL BY ISLAND GAS LTD, PORTSIDE, ELLESMERE PORT APPEAL REFERENCE APP/A0665/W/18/3207952
    SUMMARY PROOF: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY – PUBLIC HEALTH
    IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT

    Dr Patrick Saunders FRCP FFPH

  • Social Harm Summary Igas Appeal

    APPEAL BY ISLAND GAS LTD, PORTSIDE ELLESMERE PORT APPEAL REFERENCE APP/A0665/W/18/3207952
    SOCIAL HARM :SUMMARY PROOF OF EVIDENCE

    Dr Anna Szolucha (MA Hons., PhD)
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Social Sciences
    Northumbria University, Newcastle

  • Acute Effects of Air Pollutants on Spontaneous Pregnancy Loss

    Objective: To investigate the relationship between acute exposure to air pollutants and spontaneous pregnancy loss.
    Design: Case-crossover study from 2007 to 2015.
    Setting: An academic emergency department in the Wasatch Front area of Utah.
    Patient(s): A total of 1,398 women who experienced spontaneous pregnancy loss events.
    Intervention(s): None.
    Main Outcome Measure(s): Odds of spontaneous pregnancy loss.
    Result(s): We found that a 10-ppb increase in 7-day average levels of nitrogen dioxide was associated with a 16% increase in the odds  of spontaneous pregnancy loss (odds ratio [OR] ¼ 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01–1.33; P¼.04). A 10-mg/m3 increase in 3-day and 7-day averages of fine particulate matter were associated with increased risk of spontaneous pregnancy loss, but the associations did not reach statistical significance (OR3-day average ¼ 1.09; 95% CI 0.99–1.20; P¼.05) (OR7-day average ¼ 1.11; 95% CI 0.99–1.24; P¼.06). We found no evidence of increased risk for any other metrics of nitrogen dioxide or fine particulate matter or any metric for ozone.
    Conclusions: We found that short-term exposure to elevated levels of air pollutants was associated with higher risk for spontaneous pregnancy loss. (Fertil Steril 2018;-:-–-. 2018 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.)

  • Public Health England Clean Air Strategy 2019

    “Clean air is essential for life, health, the environment and the economy. Government must act to tackle air pollution which shortens lives. We have already acted to reduce concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) around roads from cars. But vehicles are not the only source of harmful emissions. Air pollution is a result of the way we currently generate power, heat our homes, produce food, manufacture consumer goods and power transport. Better, cleaner technologies and simple changes in behaviour will tackle the pollution that claims lives.

  • Open Letter to the Chief Executive of Public Health England  Feb 2019

    The time has come for you, as the Chief Executive of PHE, to reflect on previous inaction
    and publish an updated review of the old Shale gas report. An updated review that is health
    based and people focused, not engineering based and “receptor” focused. It should, of course,
    be representative of existing worldwide health research and the impacts of climate change on
    health.

    Previous requests for a further PHE review from members of the medical profession,
    environmental groups and local communities have apparently fallen on deaf ears. A petition
    of 6,000 people has remained unacknowledged by PHE since August 2017.

    The medical profession not only has a duty to protect the health of individuals and to do no
    harm, but also has a duty to protect the health of populations. We cannot in all conscience
    stand by, without making comment on what many now consider to be a negligent failure by
    Public Health England in refusing to publish an updated review.”

  • Respiratory Symptoms, Asthma and Levels of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Schoolchildren in the Industrial Areas of Estonia

    Objectives: Exposure to air pollutants in the ambient environment has been associated with various respiratory symptoms, and with increased asthma diagnosis, in both children and adults. Most research to date has focussed on core pollutants, such as PM10, PM2.5, SO2 and NO2, and less attention has been given to the effects of industry specific contamination. The current study aimed to examine the associations between respiratory symptoms, asthma, increased levels of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) (as a marker of eosinophilic airway inflammation) and ambient levels of industrial pollutants (such as benzene, phenol, formaldehyde and non-methane hydrocarbons) for schoolchildren living near oil shale industries in Ida-Viru County, Estonia.

    Methods: A total of 1326 schoolchildren from Ida-Viru, Lääne-Viru and Tartu Counties participated in a crosssectional study, consisting of questionnaires on respiratory symptoms and asthma, as well as clinical examinations to measure FeNO. Dispersion modelling was used to characterize individual-level exposure to industrial air pollutants at each subject’s home address. Associations between exposure and respiratory health were investigated using logistic regression analysis, and differences in results between regions were analysed using the Chisquared test.

    Results: The prevalence of respiratory symptoms (p b 0.05) in children living near (i.e. within 5 km) of an oil shale industry site in Ida-Viru County was 2–4 times higher than in children living in the reference area of Tartu County. Children exposed to 1 μg/m3 higher levels of benzene and formaldehyde had a higher odds ratio (OR) of having rhinitis without a cold (OR 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.06), of ever having had attacks of asthma (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.10) and of having a dry cough a few days per year (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01–1.10). Children exposed to 1 μg/m3 higher levels of benzene, formaldehyde, phenol and non-methane hydrocarbons had a higher odds ratio of having high FeNO levels (≥30 ppb): OR and 95% CI of 1.05, 1.01–1.09; 1.22, 1.06–1.41; 1.01,1.00–1.01; and 1.75, 1.75–2.62, respectively

  • Risk Assessment of Human Exposure to Ra-226 in Oil Produced Water from the Bakken Shale

    Unconventional oil production in North Dakota (ND) and other states in the United States uses large amounts of water for hydraulic fracturing to stimulate oil flow. Most of the water used returns to the surface as produced water (PW) containing different constituents. Some of these contents are total dissolved solids and radionuclides.
    The most predominant radionuclide in PW is radium-226 (Ra-226) of which level depends on several factors including the content of certain cations. A multivariate regression model was developed to predict Ra-226 in PW from the Bakken Shale based on the levels of barium, strontium, and calcium. The simulated Ra-226 activity concentration in PW was 535 pCi/L supporting extremely limited actual data based on three PW samples from the Bakken (527, 816, and 1210 pCi/L). The simulated activity concentration was further analyzed by studying its impact in the event of a PW spill reaching a surface water body that provides drinking water, irrigation water for crops, and recreational fishing. Using food transfer factors found in the literature, the final annual effective dose rate for an adult in ND was estimated. The global average annual effective dose rate via food and drinking water is 0.30 mSv, while the predicted dose rate in this study was 0.49 mSv indicating that there is potential risk to human health in ND due to Ra-226 in PW spills. This predicted dose rate is considered the best case scenario as it is based on the simulated Ra-226 activity concentration in PW of 535 pCi/L which is close to the low end actual activity concentration of 527 pCi/L.

  • Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Hospitalisations: Evidence from Pennsylvania 2003-2014

    Objectives: To examine relationships between short-term and long-term exposures to unconventional natural gas development, commonly known as fracking, and county hospitalization rates for a variety of broad disease categories.

    Study design: This is an ecological study based on county-level data for Pennsylvania, United States, 2003-2014.

    Methods: We estimated multivariate regressions with county and year fixed effects, using two 12-year panels: all 67 Pennsylvania counties and 54 counties that are not large metropolitan.

    Results: After correcting for multiple comparisons, we found a positive association of cumulative well density (per km2 ) with genitourinary hospitalization rates. When large metropolitan counties were excluded, this relationship persisted, and positive associations of skin-related hospitalization rates with cumulative well count and well density were observed. The association with genitourinary hospitalization rates is driven by females in 20-64 years group, particularly for kidney infections, calculus of ureter, and urinary tract infection. Contemporaneous wells drilled were not significantly associated with hospitalizations after adjustment for multiple comparisons.

    Conclusions: Our study shows that long-term exposure to unconventional gas development may have an impact on prevalence of hospitalizations for certain diseases in the affected populations and identifies areas of future research on unconventional gas development and health.

  • Review of Interventions to Improve Outdoor Air Quality and Public Health

    Document produced by PHE ,Public Health England . Interesting tables from Delphi research.

  • Cardiovascular Disease Burden from Ambient Air Pollution in Europe reassessed using a Hazard Ratio Functions

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    Conclusion We provide new data based on novel hazard ratio functions suggesting that the health impacts attributable to ambient air pollution in Europe are substantially higher than previously assumed, though subject to considerable uncertainty. Our results imply that replacing fossil fuels by clean, renewable energy sources could substantially reduce the loss of life expectancy from air pollution.

  • Doctors for the Environment Australia-The Implications  for Human Health and Wellbeing of Expanding Gas Mining
    in Australia

    “In summary, the review found growing evidence of direct health impacts as well as a clear potential for indirect impacts of gas and oil mining on essential environmental determinants of health. These concerns include risks to a stable climate, air quality, water quality, water security, food security, community cohesion and, in some  locations, geological stability. The cumulative impacts of these industries on the wider requirements for good health and wellbeing are extremely concerning.”

  • Developmental Exposure to Chemicals associated with Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction alters Immune Homeostasis and Viral Immunity of the Amphibian Xenopus

    Our data provide strong evidence that at concentrations well below or at the level found in water where UOG activity occurs Energy Information Administration, 2016 Kassotis et al., 2016c ), a mixture of UOG chemicals can induce alterations of the immune system that persists for a long time after exposure. Thus, early life exposure  leads to change in adulthood that include weakened host resistance to viral pathogens. These results are relevant and raise concern for aquatic vertebrates near UOG sites or downstream from UOG waste water spills. However, owing to the conservation of the immune system across all jawed vertebrates these findings also clearly pertain to human health”
  • Epidemiology of Silicosis reports from the SWORD scheme in the UK from 1996 to 2017

    Conclusions Silicosis remains an important health problem in the UK affecting workers of all ages across a wide range of industries traditionally associated with silica exposure.”

  • A Systematic Assessment of Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Hydraulic-Fracturing Fluids and Flowback Water

    A research article about the carcinogemicity of Hydraulic Fracking chemicals.

  • Environmental Health Concerns From Unconventional Natural Gas Development

    These environmental and community impacts have generated considerable concern about potential health effects and corresponding political debate over whether UNGD should be promoted, regulated, or banned. For several years after the expansion of the industry, there were no well-designed, population-based studies that objectively measured UNGD activity or associated exposures in relation to health outcomes. This delay is inherent after the introduction of new industries, but hundreds of thousands of wells were drilled before any health studies were completed. By 2017, there were a number of important, peer-reviewed studies published in the scientific literature that raised concern about potential ongoing health impacts. These studies have reported associations between proximity to UNGD and pregnancy and birth outcomes; migraine headache, chronic rhinosinusitis, severe fatigue, and other symptoms; asthma exacerbations; and psychological and stress-related concerns. Beyond its direct health impacts, UNGD may be substantially contributing to climate change (due to fugitive emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas), which has further health impacts. Certain health outcomes, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, cannot yet be studied because insufficient time has passed in most regions since the expansion of UNGD to allow for latency considerations. With the potential for tens of thousands of additional wells across large geographic areas, these early health studies should give pause about whether and how UNGD should proceed. Citing health concerns, several U.S. states and nations in Europe have already decided to not allow UNGD.”

     

  • Scientific Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel Final Report from British Colombia

    “It is the view of the Panel that the current regulations under many acts appear to be robust, as suggested by previous reviews of the regulatory and policy framework; however, insufficient evidence was provided to the Panel to assess the degree of compliance and enforcement of regulations. One of the challenges with the current, generally non-prescriptive (i.e. objectives based) regulatory regime, is that most of the details for environmental protection are not transparent; rather they are embedded within various permitting processes or industry best practices or guidance documents…”

     

  • 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 gasproduction 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 un-conventional natural gas development and production via hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking). Increasingnumber 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 healtheffects of fracking. I discuss myfirsthand experiences as a medical anthropologist and public health researcheron a multi-disciplinary research team tasked with conducting Maryland’sfirst health impact assessment to de-termine the potential public health impacts associated with fracking. I focus on how fracking, as a relatively neweconomically viable source of energy and an emergent focus of study, brings about public and scientific anxi-eties, and how these anxieties shape subsequent environmental and health policy decision making processes. Ireflect on the potential role of social scientists in matters of scientific knowledge production and resulting policydecisions and the broader implications of such engagement for public social science”

  • Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Diseases: A Review by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies’
    Environmental Committee, Part 1: The Damaging Effects of Air Pollution

    “Air pollution poses a great environmental risk to health. Outdoor fine particulate matter (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μm) exposure is the fifth leading risk factor for death in the world, accounting for 4.2 million deaths and > 103 million disability-adjusted life years lost according to the Global Burden of Disease Report. The World Health Organization attributes 3.8 million additional deaths to indoor air pollution. Air pollution can harm acutely, usually manifested by respiratory or cardiac symptoms, as well as chronically, potentially affecting every organ in the body. It can cause, complicate, or exacerbate many adverse health conditions. Tissue damage may result directly from pollutant toxicity because fine and ultrafine particles can gain access to organs, or indirectly through systemic inflammatory processes. Susceptibility is partly under genetic and epigenetic regulation. Although air pollution affects people of all regions, ages, and social groups, it is likely to cause greater illness in those with heavy exposure and greater susceptibility. Persons are more vulnerable to air pollution if they have other illnesses or less social support. Harmful effects occur on a continuum of dosage and even at levels below air quality standards previously considered to be safe.”

  • Impact of the Hydraulic Fracturing on Indoor Radon Concentrations in Ohio A Multilevel Modeling Approach

    “According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Extant research that has reported that fracking activity increases the radon levels. “Fracking” also known as hydraulic fracturing, which is a technology that is used to extract naturally occurring shale gas from the Marcellus and the Utica shales. Based on the data from the Ohio Radon Information System (ORIS) from 2007 to 2014 in Ohio, this research uses multilevel modeling (MLM) to examine the association between the incidences of hydraulic fracturing and elevated airborne radon levels. The ORIS data include information on 118,421 individual records of households geocoded to zip code areas. Individual records include radon concentrations, device types of the test, and seasons. Euclidean distances between zip code centroid to the 1,162 fracking wells are measured at the zip code level. Two additional zip code variables, namely the population density and urbanicity, are also included as control variables. Multilevel modeling results show that at the zip code level, distance to fracking wells and population density are significant and negative covariate of the radon concentration. By comparing with urban areas, urban clusters, and rural areas are significant which linked to higher radon concentrations. These findings lend support to the effect of hydraulic fracturing in influencing radon concentrations, and promote public policies that need to be geographically adaptable.”

  • Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction) Sixth Edition June 2019  

    Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction) Sixth Edition June 2019

  • Fracking (Measurement and Regulation of  Impacts) (Air, Water and Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill

    Fracking (Measurement and Regulation of Impacts) (Air, Water and Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Bill is a private members bill which had its forst reading in March 2019.

  • The Environmental and Occupational Health Impacts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Industry

    From the American Public Health Association ;

    Abstract
    The process of extracting oil and gas by unconventional methods from underground formations involves injecting high volumes of fresh water, chemicals, and proppants at high pressure into deep geological formations as a means of enhancing the extraction of hydrocarbons. This technique has vastly increased the potential for domestic oil and gas production and has been promoted as a way to decrease dependence on foreign energy sources, replace dirtier energy sources such as coal, and generate new jobs and economic development. At the same time, unconventional oil and gas (UOG) poses various known and unknown risks to public health and the environment, including water quality and quantity concerns, worker health and safety issues, air quality problems and methane leaks, health effect concerns (including those for vulnerable populations), physical hazards, community-level impacts, and climate change effects. This policy statement is intended to cover the risks associated with the entire UOG process, including site preparation, drilling and casing, well completion, production, transportation, storage and disposal of wastewater and chemicals, and site remediation. In lieu of a strategic, national transition away from UOG—and other fossil fuel—development, policies that anticipate public health threats, require greater transparency, involve a precautionary approach, require comprehensive environmental impact assessments, and provide for monitoring and adaptation as understanding of risks increases are suggested to prevent or mitigate the negative occupational and public health impacts of UOG development.

  • Congenital heart defects and intensity of oil and gas well site activities in early pregnancy.

    “Background: Preliminary studies suggest that offspring to mothers living near oil and natural gas (O&G) well sites are at higher risk of congenital heart defects (CHDs). Objectives: Our objective was to address the limitations of previous studies in a new and more robust evaluation of the relationship between maternal proximity to O&G well site activities and births with CHDs. Methods: We employed a nested case-control study of 3324 infants born in Colorado between 2005 and 2011. 187, 179, 132, and 38 singleton births with an aortic artery and valve (AAVD), pulmonary artery and valve (PAVD), conotruncal (CTD), or tricuspid valve (TVD) defect, respectively, were frequency matched 1:5 to controls on sex, maternal smoking, and race and ethnicity yielding 2860 controls. We estimated monthly intensities of O&G activity at maternal residences from three months prior to conception through the second gestational month with our intensity adjusted inverse distance weighted model. We used logistic regression models adjusted for O&G facilities other than wells, intensity of air pollution sources not associated with O&G activities, maternal age and socioeconomic status index, and infant sex and parity, to evaluate associations between CHDs and O&G activity intensity groups (low, medium, and high). Results: Overall, CHDs were 1.4 (1.0, 2.0) and 1.7 (1.1, 2.6) times more likely than controls in the medium and high intensity groups, respectively, compared to the low intensity group. PAVDs were 1.7 (0.93, 3.0) and 2.5 (1.1, 5.3) times more likely in the medium and high intensity groups for mothers with an address found in the second gestational month. In rural areas, AAVDs, CTDs, and TVDs were 1.8 (0.97, 3.3) and 2.6 (1.1, 6.1); 2.1 (0.96, 4.5) and 4.0 (1.4, 12); and 3.4 (0.95, 12) and 4.6 (0.81, 26)times morelikely than controls inthe medium and high intensity groups. Conclusions: This study provides further evidence of a positive association between maternal proximity to O&G well site activities and several types of CHDs, particularly in rural areas.”

  • Unconventional natural gas development and adverse birth outcomes in Pennsylvania the potential mediating role of antenatal anxiety and depression

    “Conclusion: We observed a relationship between UNGD activity and antenatal anxiety and depression,  which did not mediate the overall association between UNGD activity and adverse birth outcomes. “

  • The Imperative of Climate Action to Protect Human Health in Europe

    ” ‘Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about  it’
     

    Previous work by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) has addressed a wide range of issues for climate change action in Europe, for example the role of forests in providing ecosystem services and the potential contribution to be made by Negative Emissions Technologies in mitigation. An EASAC report published in March 2019 on decarbonisation of transport emphasised the needs for drastic societal change and decisive political action and proposes a set of concrete actions to policy makers.”

  • Spatiotemporal Variations and Characterization of the Chronic Cancer Risk associated with Benzene Exposure

    “The highest concentration of benzene found in the current study was 3.9 ppb and recorded in Pennsylvania State. In a recent study in Pennsylvania, it was concluded that a significant level ofambient benzene is released through natural gas fracking (Meng, 2015).”

  • National Audit Office Report: Fracking for Shale Gas in England

    2019  report outlining the current status of the fracking industry .

  • Human Health Risk Assessment for Oil & Gas Operations in Colorado – One-Pager

    A one page summary of the Colarado Public Health Report