Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Expert panel calls for public health research on natural gas drilling

Date:
August 11, 2014
Source:
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
A group of environmental health researchers has published recommendations for public health research associated with unconventional natural gas drilling operations. Groundwater and air quality testing before, during, and after natural gas drilling -- which includes hydraulic fracturing -- should be key components of efforts to ensure the safety of communities near these sites, according to these experts

Groundwater and air quality testing before, during, and after natural gas drilling -- which includes hydraulic fracturing -- should be key components of efforts to ensure the safety of communities near these sites, according to an expert panel convened to weigh in on public health research needs associated with unconventional natural gas drilling operations (UNGDO). The panel also urges that any research conducted should use "community-based participatory research principles" so that the concerns of the many stakeholders involved in these activities can be addressed.

A group of environmental health researchers, led by Trevor Penning, PhD, director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, published their findings this month in Environmental Health Perspectives.

UNGDO, which includes hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, supplies an energy source which is potentially cleaner than liquid or solid fossil fuels and may provide a route to energy independence for the U.S, say proponents. However, significant concerns have arisen due to the lack of research on the public health impact of this type of energy extraction.

"The working group was convened following presentations on the potential of natural gas drilling to adversely affect public health at the 2012 Annual Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers [EHSCC] meeting at Harvard School of Public Health," states Penning.

Sixteen of the twenty EHSCCs funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) joined the working group to review the literature on the potential public health impact of UNGDO and to make recommendations for research.

The Inter-EHSCC Working Group concluded that a potential for water and air pollution exists that might endanger public health and that the social fabric of communities could be affected by the rapid emergence of drilling operations. The working group recommends research to inform how potential risks could be mitigated.

Some of the key suggestions are:

• Baseline ground water quality data should be taken before drilling begins and be monitored over the lifetime and abandonment of the gas-producing well.

• Ambient and occupational air quality should be measured at active drilling sites and be compared with baseline measurements in adjacent areas without drilling operations.

• An environmental epidemiological study should be performed to determine whether an association exists between health outcomes data and water quality in private drinking wells in communities with and without hydraulic fracturing.

• An environmental epidemiological study should be performed to determine whether air pollution associated with UNGDO increases the incidence of respiratory illness and cardiovascular disease.

• Community-based participatory research principles should be embraced in designing and conducting studies on environmental and health impacts of UNGDO so that a range of community perspectives are addressed. All stakeholders (individual/community/industry/advocacy groups/decision makers) should be engaged early to foster multi-directional communication and accountability.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Trevor M. Penning, Patrick N. Breysse, Kathleen Gray, Marilyn Howarth, Beizhan Yan. Environmental Health Research Recommendations from the Inter-Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Working Group on Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling Operations. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2014; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1408207

Cite This Page:

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Expert panel calls for public health research on natural gas drilling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124117.htm>.
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. (2014, August 11). Expert panel calls for public health research on natural gas drilling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124117.htm
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Expert panel calls for public health research on natural gas drilling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811124117.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

Ebola Cases Keep Coming for Monrovia's Island Hospital

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) A look inside Monrovia's Island Hospital, a key treatment centre in the fight against Ebola in Liberia's capital city. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

Ebola Puts Stress on Liberian Health Workers

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) The Ebola outbreak is putting stress on first responders in Liberia. Ambulance drivers say they are struggling with chronic shortages of safety equipment and patients who don't want to go to the hospital. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Doctors Reassure Public Ebola Patient Won't Cause Outbreak

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) After the announcement that the first U.S. patient had been diagnosed with Ebola, doctors were quick to say a U.S. outbreak is highly unlikely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

TX Hospital Confirms Patient Admitted With Ebola

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Medical officials from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirm they are treating a patient with the Ebola virus, the first case found in the US. (Sept. 30 Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins