Fracking, Shale Gas
and Health

Fracking and Health Awareness Project

The Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health

05/12/2013

This peer-reviewed study by veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Veterinary Medicine Professor of Pharmacology Robert Oswald, both of Cornell University, is the first scientific study to investigate reports of animal health impacts associated with shale gas development. The study is based on interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations. It also documents associations between health symptoms experienced by animals and the health problems suffered by humans.  The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts.
Bamberger and Oswald conclude, “Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale.”

Abstract

Environmental concerns surrounding drilling for gas are intense due to expansion of shale gas drilling operations. Controversy surrounding the impact of drilling on air and water quality has pitted industry and lease-holders against individuals and groups concerned with environmental protection and public health. Because animals often are exposed continually to air, soil, and groundwater and have more frequent reproductive cycles, animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health. This study involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations. The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts. Complete evidence regarding health impacts of gas drilling cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing and disclosure of chemicals, and nondisclosure agreements. Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale.

By M. Bamberger and RE Oswald

Originally published by the US National Library of Medicine

For full text click here.

 

 

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