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Special issue of journal looks at fracking’s effects on people, animals

By Jim Morris, the Center for Public Integrity   http://www.publicintegrity.org/

On February 18, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, announced that natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania had broken another record, exceeding 4 trillion cubic feet in 2014. “That number – nearly 1 trillion cubic feet more than 2013 – represents more than a quarter of the nation’s total natural gas production,” the coalition said, adding that more than 243,000 Pennsylvanians were “working across the industry.”

Today, a scientific journal devotes an entire issue to a gloomier topic: the public health impacts of all that fracking. It’s a subject the Center for Public Integrity and InsideClimate News explored in great detail in their joint 2014 project, “Big Oil, Bad Air.” The 20-month investigation, which included a 15-minute online documentary by The Weather Channel, described toxic air emissions, health problems and lax regulation in areas of heavy drilling, notably the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas.

The peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Science and Health published eight articles in an issue it calls “Facing the Challenges—Research on Shale Gas Extraction.” Among other things, the researchers found that fracking may be polluting Pennsylvania streams with mercury; that dogs – good “health sentinels” for human effects – have gotten sick near drilling sites; and that “extreme exposures” to volatile organic compounds, such as the carcinogen benzene, can be expected during several stages of gas production and processing.

The special issue’s editor, John Stolz, director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, said the papers – outgrowths

of a 2013 conference – should trigger additional studies.

Fracking is “not the traditional mom-and-pop drilling” and “could be considered a heavy industrial process,” Stolz said, indicating a need for careful siting of drilling rigs and other polluting facilities near residential areas.

“We’re not against the industry. That’s not the point,” Stolz said. “There are things related to this industry that have to be addressed. Let’s do it soberly and with eyes wide open.”

A drilling tower in the Marcellus shale formation seen from Pennsylvania Route 118 in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.  Wikicommons

A drilling tower in the Marcellus shale formation seen from Pennsylvania Route 118 in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Wikicommons

Please read more at

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/03/03/16831/special-issue-journal-looks-frackings-effects-people-animals?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=watchdog&utm_medium=publici-email&goal=0_ffd1d0160d-783e376339-100331665&mc_cid=783e376339&mc_eid=31c731a8c2

or visit the same website for more reading on ‘Big Oil, Bad Air’,

Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas.

and other Stories in this series such as :

As drilling ravages Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, residents ‘living in a Petri dish’

By Jim Morris, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer February 18, 2014

 

Special issue of journal looks at fracking’s effects on people, animals

By Jim Morris 17 hours, 32 minutes ago

 

Black history and heritage bulldozed by gas boom

By Eleanor Bell and Talia Buford February 6, 2015

 

Groups sue to force EPA’s hand on oil and gas emissions

By Jamie Smith Hopkins January 7, 2015

 

One-stop science shop has become a favorite of industry—and Texas

By Rosalind Adams and Lisa Song December 19, 2014

 

Texas weakens chemical exposure guidelines, opens door for polluters

By Lisa Song and Rosalind Adams December 18, 2014

 

Citing health risks, New York State bans fracking

By Talia Buford December 17, 2014

 

Smoke, odors and drifting foam in Fort Worth suburb stir frustration over fracking

By Jamie Smith Hopkins December 11, 2014

 

Health worries pervade North Texas fracking zone

By Jamie Smith Hopkins December 11, 2014

 

Plant expansions fuelled by shale gas boom to boost greenhouse gas, toxic air emissions

By Talia Buford December 10, 2014

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