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Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective

Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, vol.17 no.5 pp.1039-1056, 20/09/2011


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Resource information:
Resource IDcolborn2011
Resource titleNatural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective
Author(s)Theo Colborn, Carol Kwiatkowski, Kim Schultz, Mary Bachran
Publication/ sourceHuman and Ecological Risk Assessment, vol.17 no.5 pp.1039-1056
Date published20/09/2011
Summary text/ abstractThe technology to recover natural gas depends on undisclosed types and amounts of toxic chemicals. A list of 944 products containing 632 chemicals used during natural gas operations was compiled. Literature searches were conducted to determine potential health effects of the 353 chemicals identified by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers. More than 75% of the chemicals could affect the skin, eyes, and other sensory organs, and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Approximately 40-50% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and the kidneys; 37% could affect the endocrine system; and 25% could cause cancer and mutations. These results indicate that many chemicals used during the fracturing and drilling stages of gas operations may have long-term health effects that are not immediately expressed. In addition, an example was provided of waste evaporation pit residuals that contained numerous chemicals on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) lists of hazardous substances. The discussion highlights the difficulty of developing effective water quality monitoring programs. To protect public health we recommend full disclosure of the contents of all products, extensive air and water monitoring, coordinated environmental/human health studies, and regulation of fracturing under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act.
Library categoriesExtr. Energy Pollution
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