Cross posting from Texas Sharon:
I know several people in the Barnett Shale area who have experienced this problem.
New research on the air quality around natural gas wells provides additional evidence and controversy about the possible health effects from hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” In Colorado, scientists found that fracking wells emit potentially toxic hydrocarbons into the air.
Amy Paré is a plastic surgeon in Washington County, south of Pittsburgh, where over 500 wells have been drilled thus far. Paré specializes in cosmetic procedures — lifts and tucks, and breast implants. Two years ago, Paré started seeing patients with an unusual condition.
“We started to have more patients that would have open areas or recalcitrant lesions, that bled, ulcerated, didn’t quite heal. And usually they’re on your face,” she said.
Concerned about skin cancer, Paré took biopsies of the patients.
“And when we would send them off to a lab, they wouldn’t come back as a cancer but they wouldn’t come back normal,” Paré said. “And then we thought, ‘Well, are these patients exposed to anything?’ So then we would ask the patients are they exposed to anything at work or at home?”
It turned out many of these patients had one thing in common: They all lived near Marcellus shale gas wells. Paré asked her patients to take a urine test.
The urine test results are similar to what was found when the Department of Health Services did the blood and urine testing in Dish, Texas.
“Unfortunately we did find quite a few people that did have urine that had methane in it, toluene, and hippuric acid,” Paré said.
Unfortunately, industry has been successful in misstating the results of the Dish study so often that residents believe their spin. Ed Ireland still has misleading information about the study on his website.
Do airborne toxins from natural gas drilling cause illness?
A recent study of 28 people in Dish, done by the State Health Department, should be released any day. Preliminary results reported by people who participated in the study indicated that there is no evidence of any illness. Highest levels of benzene were found in the blood levels of people who smoked. See Frequently Asked Questions
I have heard Gilbert Horton, Devon Energy, repeat this misleading information when he speaks at council and task force meetings.
Several months ago I submitted an oped to the Denton Record Chronicle in an attempt to set the record straight. They still have not printed it. Here are some hard facts from the Dish blood and urine test:
- Half the people who were tested–HALF THE PEOPLE–had chemicals in their blood over the levels of the general population of the US.
- The chemicals in the blood, urine and tap water were the same chemicals found in exceedances in the previous air sampling.
- 15 chemicals were over the limit for the whole United States.
- 10 of those 15 chemicals were more prevalent in the non-smokers.
- 2 where equal in the non-smokers and smokers
- Only 3 of the 15 chemicals were higher in the smokers
- 50% of those tested had concentrations over the average for the United States.