Hydraulic fracturing has received a lot of media attention. The complicated process of accessing oil and gas from shale rock formations encompasses numerous potential pathways for human exposure. We are concerned about the environmental health impacts of the entire hydraulic fracturing process. The hydraulic fracturing process includes extraction of large quantities of sand which is transported to hydraulic fracturing sites for drilling operations. The construction of well pads in rural communities increases traffic, noise, and air pollution. The drilling of the well uses large quantities of water and chemical additives, which require processing and disposal when retrieved as flow back water. Storage of flow back water occurs in on-site ponds, impoundments, and above ground tanks. Compressor stations and flaring of recovered oil and gas contribute to air emissions.
The social changes in rural communities include a large influx of out-of-town workers which has put stress on the existing infrastructure including, hospitals, roads, social services and amenities. Community partners have shared their concerns regarding the safety of the air and water in communities where hydraulic fracturing is occurring. Some community members have expressed concern about their doctors’ inability to obtain accurate and thorough information regarding the chemicals used at a particular hydraulic fracturing site. CEC supports CEET in several pilot projects investigating exposure pathways and health outcomes. CEC has engaged community partners in community-based participatory research.
New Resources: Health and Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has become more common in the quest to extract natural gas from reserves across the United States. In a new podcast and factsheet, NIEHS takes a close look at the potential environmental health implications of this practice and what researchers are doing to learn more.
Podcast: A Second Look at the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing provides an update to our 2013 podcast and features experts Trevor Penning, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania and Kathleen Gray of the University of North Carolina.
Factsheet: Health and Hydraulic Fracturing offers a brief overview of what is known about the impacts of fracking on health and what NIEHS is doing to increase our understanding of these issues.
At CURF’s Annual Research Open House / Research Expo in Bodek Lounge, in Houston Hall Kyra Reumann-Moorel presented her work on Oil and gas activity on the occurrence of organic compounds in Colorado groundwater
Access the entire recorded webinar here: Hydraulic Fracturing Symposium at Penn Catalog
Presentation slides from the symposium are below. The presentation and any additional cited materials were provided and posted with permission from the presenter.
Introduction – Dr. Trevor Penning
Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling – Dr. Tim Bechtel
Environmental Health Exposures – Dr. Lisa McKenzie
Inter Center Working Group NIEHS – Dr. Trevor Penning
Risk Perception and Hydrofracturing in Eastern States – Dr. Marilyn Howarth
Ongoing Studies of Marcellus Shale Development and Health at the Geisinger Health System – Dr. Brian S. Schwartz
Industry Practices and Perspectives – Dr. Russell D. White, Work Cited
Where Do We Go From Here? – Dr. Aubrey Miller