The health implications of unconventional gas production are quite alarming, as an increasing number of studies reveal from top universities such as Cornell, Yale, the University of Washington and Colorado State. Fracking research published in The Journal of Environmental Science and Health found that government monitoring was insufficient to address chemical mixtures and other risks. Other study results suggest that natural gas extraction may impact the health of animals living nearby, either through water or airborne exposures to contaminants. As the Dallas Morning News reports below, "Unsolved riddles abound. No one can say, for example, how the combination of airborne chemicals from gas production in any one spot might affect a person’s health, in part because the array might change with each shifting wind." The health sector can use this research on fracking to prevent future illnesses by working toward climate solutions. The overlap between climate and health issues are significant. Find out how you can get involved today.
By Randy Lee Loftis I March 3, 2015
Dogs serve as living recorders of toxic exposure. Cattle have trouble breeding. People report headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing and a raft of other ills.
Those are a few of the findings in a new suite of academic studies on natural-gas production and health being published Tuesday.
People’s and animals’ troubles subside, one study found, when they move away from places where companies are producing natural gas with unconventional methods — that is, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process already used on tens of thousands of wells in North Texas.
The research, mostly by university scientists, centers mostly on another region where gas production has moved into established communities, the Marcellus Shale field in Pennsylvania. But it explores the same questions that arise in North Texas neighborhoods that now find wells and processing plants as newcomers.
Bit by bit, science is plugging the gaps in public understanding left by limits and inadequacies of past research.
“This is a great time to be researching and writing about the topic of air pollution associated with unconventional natural gas production,” said Robert Swarthout, a postdoctoral investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has published research on shale gas production and health but was not involved in this week’s new studies.
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