Marcellus shale extraction and its potential negative effects on the environment is the subject of a recently published special issue in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A. This issue, comprised of eight different papers, delves into the long term consequences fracking has on people, animals, and the environment.
Paper topics range from the positive correlation between the amount of fracking and mercury found in the surrounding wildlife, to the long term impacts of unconventional drilling on human and animal health. The research was presented at the 2013 conference Facing the Challenges: Research on Shale Gas Extraction, held at Duquesne University.
"This publication presents some of the biggest topics scientists are grappling with as they study unconventional energy extraction," said Dr. John Stolz, director of Duquesne's Center for Environmental Research and Education and the conference organizer. "Given the importance of fracking and its possible impacts on health and the environment, we welcome this special issue. It provides academics, industry experts and residents with the opportunity to see a number of different aspects gathered in one volume."
Some articles cover topics such as human exposure to unconventional natural gas development, well water communication in rural communities, and animal health conditions near natural gas wells.
Michelle Bramberger and Robert Oswald, authors of "Long-term Impacts of Unconventional Drilling Operations on Human and Animal Health" reviewed a total of 21 case reports which followed 21 humans, food and companion animals, and wildlife for an average of 25 months. The researchers found that more than half of all harmful exposures were related to drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations; more than one-third were related to wastewater, processing and production.
"Having others in the academic community put such value on this work, to create an entire publication around it, is gratifying," said Dr. Philip Reeder, dean of Duquesne's Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. "Besides expanding knowledge in the field, the research has added value for decision-making in our community and beyond."
Even with the breadth of work presented in this volume, "The papers represent only a smattering of what was presented at the conference in 2013," said Stolz, adding that a recording of all conference proceedings is available online at www.duq.edu/facing-the-challenges.
The journal's special issue is available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/lesa20/50/5#.VQYhv2YqrJw
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