Category Archives: Health impacts

New scientific study shows fracking is strongly related to infant mortality

A new scientific study published this week in the Journal of Environmental Protection shows, for the first time, a clear correlation between fracking and the death of newborn infants.

The study showed that infant deaths decreased by 2.4% across the state during the period of the fracking boom from 2007-2010. However, in the 82,558 births in the 10 most-fracked counties, there was a significant increase in mortality (238 vs. 193, a 23.3% increase). These results are statistically significant at a 95% level of confidence.

According to the authors, that means 50 babies died over three years because they happened to be born near a fracked well. Stunning.

What’s more, the greatest increases in death occurred in counties with the highest dependence on private water wells, and in the counties with the greatest number of operator violations of wastewater disposal regulations.

This is a very important study for rural Montanans in areas where fracking is likely. They depend on private wells for precious water, they live in a state that is lax in protecting landowners, and the company most likely to come in and drill is a serial polluter with a track record of violations in the very counties in Pennsylvania that were studied.

To read more, click the link. Continue reading

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New study links fracking to migraines, fatigue, sinus problems

New research suggests that Pennsylvania residents with the highest exposure to active wells are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a combination of migraine headaches, chronic nasal and sinus symptoms and severe fatigue.

The research reminds us that Montana is one of the few oil and gas producing states with no mandated minimum distances, or setbacks, between wellheads and occupied buildings. The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation recently considered the issue of setbacks, but decided to require only notification of residents when a well is about to be drilled nearby. Carbon County recently became the first county in Montana to pass a county-wide setback restriction as part of the County’s growth plan revision.

This study is part of a growing body of evidence that oil and gas drilling has substantial negative impacts on human health. Montana remains woefully behind in protecting its residents from these health effects. Continue reading

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Time for the Montana Board of Oil and Gas to act on fracking chemical disclosure

Last week a coalition of environmental organizations, landowners and public health advocates petitioned the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (BOGC) to provide broader public disclosure of information about the chemicals used in fracking.

The proposals are common sense reforms that would protect landowners from potential harm. As Katherine O’Brien, the Earthjustice attorney who drafted the petition on behalf of the coalition put it, “Montanans have the right to know what is being pumped into the ground around their homes, farms, and ranches.”

While the Montana press has reacted favorably to the proposed changes, the oil and gas industry opposes the changes, citing their oft-repeated and always incorrect mantra, “Fracking is safe.”

The Board of Oil and Gas needs to take this opportunity to protect Montana’s residents.

To read more, click the link. Continue reading

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A new study says drilling is happening too close to homes; the Montana Board of Oil and Gas doesn’t care

A new peer-reviewed study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that setbacks — the minimum allowable distance between a well and occupied residences, schools, or hospitals — are too close to peoples’ homes. According to the study, the current setbacks in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Texas leave residents vulnerable to explosions from well blowouts and to air pollution generated at wells “above health-based risk levels.”

Pennsylvania’s minimum setback is 500 feet from any occupied building. Texas’ is 200 feet; Colorado’s is 500 to 1,000 feet.

Montana is one of the few oil and gas states without any setback rules. Last summer the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation, at the urging of Northern Plains Resource Council and others, took up the issue of rulemaking for setbacks. After hearing from many residents regarding the need for minimum setbacks, the BOGC decided not to take up rulemaking, but to form a subcommittee to consider the issue.

The subcommittee has now done its work, You won’t believe what they came up with. Click to find out. Continue reading

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Important new study shows link between fracking chemicals and reproductive and developmental toxicity

A new study from Yale University released this week shows that a large number of chemicals found in fracking fluid and wastewater are associated with reproductive and developmental toxicity.

The study, “A systematic evaluation of chemicals in hydraulic-fracturing fluids and wastewater for reproductive and developmental toxicity,” was published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology on January 6, 2016. In the study, the authors systematically evaluated 1,021 chemicals identified in fracking fluids, wastewater, or both for potential reproductive and developmental toxicity to identify those with the potential for human health impacts.

They researched each against a database, and discovered the following:

-Toxicity information was lacking in the database for 781 chemicals (76%).
-Of the remaining 240 substances, evidence suggested reproductive toxicity for 103 (43%), developmental toxicity for 95 (40%), and both for 41 (17%).
-Of the 157 chemicals associated with toxicity, 67 either already have or have been proposed for a federal water quality standard or guideline.

This data points clearly to the need for local regulation of oil and gas drilling along the Beartooth Front and in other local communities. Continue reading

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Third edition of fracking compendium includes over 100 new studies on the risks of fracking

The third edition of the Compendium of Scientific \, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking was released this week. It is the third edition of the compendium released in the last fifteen months.

The reason is that there is now a flood of research on the subject. According to the report, over half of all peer-reviewed literature on the dangers of fracking has been published since January, 2014; the new edition includes over 100 new studies.

The results are compelling. We now have data on the risks of fracking to water, air, and human health that cannot be ignored by responsible lawmakers.

Click to read more and download the compendium. Continue reading

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Watch Josh Fox’s new short film, Gaswork: The Fight for C.J.’s Law, here

Josh Fox, the creator of Gasland and Gasland 2, has released a new 46-minute film on the dangers of fracking jobs. The film is entitled Gaswork: The Fight for C.J.’s Law.

One of the great benefits of oil and gas drilling, according to its proponents, is the creation of new jobs in the communities where fracking occurs. But, according to Fox, many of these jobs are extremely dangerous, exposing workers to chemicals with unknown long-term impacts on human health. The fatality rate of oil field jobs in seven times greater than the national average.

Fox’s new film investigates worker safety and chemical risk. It follows Charlotte Bevins in her fight for CJ’s law, a bill to protect workers named for her brother CJ Bevins, who died at a drilling site.

Click to read the rest of this post and watch the entire film. Continue reading

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New study finds toxic air pollution in Ohio’s most heavily fracked county

(Editor’s note 7/16/2016: This study has been withdrawn.) A peer-reviewed study published by scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati in the journal Environmental Science & Technology reveals that emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing … Continue reading

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New study: drilling causes water contamination in Pennsylvania wells

An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pennsylvania revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday. “This is the first documented and published demonstration … Continue reading

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This week: An entire issue of a peer-reviewed journal devoted to public health impacts of oil and gas drilling

This week the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Science and Health devoted an entire issue to the public health impacts of fracking in Pennsylvania, a state that now supplies 25% of the natural gas produced in the United States. The issue, titled … Continue reading

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