Adverse health risks increase with proximity to fracking facilities

Unconventional oil and gas development is rapidly encroaching on heavily populated neighborhoods, posing potential risks to human health

Dr. Lisa McKenzie presents results from a human health risk assessment that characterized prenatal through adult health risks from exposure to non-methane hydrocarbons in Colorado populations living near oil and gas development. The study found that both air pollutant concentrations and health risks increased with proximity to oil and gas facilities.

Lisa McKenzie, PhD MPH,is an Assistant Research Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health on the University of Colorado Denver’s Anschutz Medical Campus. Her expertise is in exposure assessment and environmental epidemiology, and human health risk assessment. Dr. McKenzie’s research has contributed to the understanding of how air pollutants and other exposures resulting from the unconventional development of petroleum resources may affect the public’s health.

Reference.  Image blogs.sierraclub.

Can environmental health research help communities impacted by fracking ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Dr. Gregory Howard, 2018

Dr. Gregory Howard, environmental public health scientist and consultant, describes various types of health studies, focusing on what a community should consider before beginning a study.

Dr. Gregory Howard explains how study design is influenced by the goals and needs of the community and the decision makers they are trying to reach, and discusses challenges of doing such research.

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Can noise from fracking operations affect your health ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Dr. Michael McCawley, 2018

Dr. Michael McCawley is Clinical Associate Professor at West Virginia University.

Dr. Michael McCawley discusses the adverse health effects associated with stress from environmental noise exposure and how factors contributing to noise levels might not be effectively addressed through mitigation measures or setbacks.

Abstract

Modern oil and gas development frequently occurs in close proximity to human populations and increased levels of ambient noise have been documented throughout some phases of development. Numerous studies have evaluated air and water quality degradation and human exposure pathways, but few have evaluated potential health risks and impacts from environmental noise exposure. We reviewed the scientific literature on environmental noise exposure to determine the potential concerns, if any, that noise from oil and gas development activities present to public health. Data on noise levels associated with oil and gas development are limited, but measurements can be evaluated amidst the large body of epidemiology assessing the non-auditory effects of environmental noise exposure and established public health guidelines for community noise. There are a large number of noise dependent and subjective factors that make the determination of a dose response relationship between noise and health outcomes difficult. However, the literature indicates that oil and gas activities produce noise at levels that may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, including annoyance, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular disease. More studies that investigate the relationships between noise exposure and human health risks from unconventional oil and gas development are warranted. Finally, policies and mitigation techniques that limit human exposure to noise from oil and gas operations should be considered to reduce health risks.

How did the state of Maryland ban fracking ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Brooke Harper, 2018

Brooke Harper is Maryland Policy Director at Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Brooke Harper shares the strategies, messaging, and coalition building used to mobilize support at the local, county, and state level highlighting the most effective actions that contributed to their successful campaign.

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What is the latest science on fracking and hormone disruption ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Dr. Susan Nagel, 2018

Dr. Susan Nagel is Associate Professor and Director of the Research Success Center in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the University of Missouri.

Dr. Susan Nagel discusses the science on health effects from prenatal exposure to fracking chemicals in animal models and human proximity studies and suggests building upon current research through collaboration with impacted communities.

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How can biomonitoring be used by communities impacted by fracking ?

Fracking and Health: Ask an Expert, with Dr. Elyse Caron-Beaudoin, 2018

Dr. Elyse Caron-Beaudoin, postdoctoral fellow in the University of Montreal School of Public Health gives practical tips for designing research studies to measure chemicals in the bodies of people living near fracking.

Dr. Elyse Caron-Beaudoin also discusses how biomonitoring data can support efforts to protect public health.

Abstract

Background
Northeastern British Columbia (Canada) is an area of intense hydraulic fracturing for unconventional natural gas exploitation. There have been multiple reports of air and water contamination by volatile organic compounds in the vicinity of gas wells. Although these chemicals are known developmental toxicants, no biomonitoring effort has been carried out in the region.

Objective
To evaluate gestational exposure to benzene and toluene in the Peace River Valley, Northeastern British Columbia (Canada).

Methods
Urine samples were collected over five consecutive days from 29 pregnant women. Metabolites of benzene (s-phenylmercapturic acid (S-PMA) and trans, trans-muconic acid (t,t-MA)) and toluene (s-benzylmercapturic acid (S-BMA)) were measured in pooled urine samples from each participant. Levels of benzene metabolites were compared to those from the general Canadian population and from a biomonitoring study of residents from an area of active gas exploitation in Pavillion, Wyoming (USA). Levels measured in participants from the two recruitment sites, and self-identifying as Indigenous or non-Indigenous, were also compared.

Results
Whereas the median S-PMA level (0.18 μg/g creatinine) in our study was similar to that in the general Canadian population, the median t,t-MA level (180 μg/g creatinine) was approximately 3.5 times higher. Five women had t,t-MA levels above the biological exposure index® proposed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. The median urinary S-BMA level in our pilot study was 7.00 μg/g creatinine. Urinary metabolite levels were slightly higher in self-identifying Indigenous women, but this difference was only statistically significant for S-PMA.

Discussion
Urinary t,t-MA levels, but not S-PMA levels, measured in our study are suggestive of a higher benzene exposure in participating pregnant women from the Peace River Valley than in the general Canadian population. Given the small sample size and limitations of t,t-MA measurements (e.g., non-specificity), more extensive monitoring is warranted.

How Do Environmental Laws Protect Fracking Chemicals ?

Fracking and Health : Ask an Expert – with Dusty Horwitt

TEDX conducts brief interviews with leading experts to get answers about health threats posed by unconventional oil and gas operations.
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How can NGOs address health symptoms in fracked communities ?

Fracking and Health : Ask an Expert – with Dr. Beth Weinberger

TEDX conducts brief interviews with leading experts to get answers about health threats posed by unconventional oil and gas operations.
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