BREAKING: Ohio Residents Blockade Fracking Wastewater Injection Well Site
Ohio residents are blocking access to an injection well in Trumbull County this morning, protesting the failure of Ohio regulators to adequately test and monitor the dumping of toxic fracking wastewater in the state.
Trumbull County residents, along with supporters from Frack Free Mahoning and Ohio Fracktion, are gathered at the well site on Sodom Hutchings Road in Vienna Township, to express concerns about the contents of the 1,000 gallons of fracking wastewater that spilled along five miles of road in Fowler Township, a nearby residential area, on July 7.
They are demanding that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) begin testing out-of-state frack wastewater that is being injected into more than 170 wells throughout Ohio. One protester has locked himself to the gate to prevent trucks carrying fracking wastewater from entering the site.
According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) spokesperson Mike Settles, emergency responders conducted only a simple pH test of the fracking wastewater that spilled along the roads of Fowler Township. As far as further testing for radiation, heavy metals and other chemicals that could be present in the spilled fracking wastewater, Settles explained that the OEPA doesn’t “have the resources" to perform testing unless there is a "legitimate concern” of environmental damage. However, thick, rust colored residue was still visible on the road one week after the spill.
Liberal Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak expressed her frustration with OEPA’s response in a July 12 letter to Mr. Settles, noting “many of the chemicals used in [fracking] and contained in the waste are officially classified individually as hazardous…. This, in my opinion, is a huge environmental concern.”
ODNR officials have ignored numerous written and oral requests from Ohio residents to order testing of the countless gallons of out-of-state fracking wastewater injected underground into Ohio each year. In response to a recent public records request asking ODNR to release all testing relevant to fracking waste, ODNR geologist Tom Tomastik provided no results taken after 1989.
A 2011 New York Times report revealed a widespread, massive presence of radioactive materials in fracking wastewater, including levels over 1,000 times federal drinking water standards.
A recent independently tested sample of fracking wastewater from Athens County revealed elevated levels of barium, arsenic, toluene, alpha particles and diesel particles nearly 300,000 times the federal standard for drinking water. State Representative Bob Hagan contacted the ODNR with a copy of these results on June 27 and requested that the ODNR begin testing fracking wastewater, citing his “serious concern that the safety and health of Ohio citizens is in jeopardy from the chemical contents of fracking wastewater.” As of July 16, he has received no reply.
This blockade comes just weeks after Madeline ffitch of Athens County chained herself to two barrels, blocking access to an injection well in west of Athens, Ohio. A statewide call-in day to demand that ODNR initiate a statewide brine-testing program is scheduled for Tuesday.
“How can the ODNR possibly allow fracking companies to dump untold volumes of fracking waste in our communities if they won’t even test it? How can they reassure us that a 1,000 gallon spill of waste is safe if they don’t even know what was in the fluid that was spilled?” asks Reverend Monica Beasley-Martin from Trumbull County. “We have been asking too long, and we have had enough. We need safe water and clean air. Ohio is not a sacrifice zone, and Ohio is not a dumping ground. ODNR: test the fracking waste now!”
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An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
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Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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