Quantcast

Community Group Launches Cutting-Edge Project to Test Air Quality for Fracking Chemicals

Energy

Citizens for a Healthy Community

Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC) announced yesterday that it is launching a cutting-edge air quality sampling project. The project is designed to establish an air quality baseline for the Delta County region in Colorado by testing for toxic chemicals associated with natural gas drilling. Formed in 2009 by a group of concerned residents, CHC's mission is to protect people and their environment from irresponsible oil and gas development in the Delta County region.

Two drill rigs working on a pad where ten wells have been previously completed. In the bottom right you can see ten recovery water tanks. Note also the reserve pit by the drill rigs. Photo courtesy of TEDX The Endocrine Disruption Exchange.

Local residents will carry backpacks containing air-sampling devices to collect data over 24-hour periods to determine actual human exposure. CHC is beginning to work with local residents to identify sampling locations so that the first round of sampling can begin in September.

Three samples will be collected at the same time at different locations as one collection set. Two sets will be collected in a month during four months over the course of one-year, in order to account for changes in the seasons.

The project was developed with input from scientists at The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). This cutting edge approach to conducting an air baseline project uses backpack air sampling instead of a stationary sampling location. This project will collect air samples to identify if an individual has been exposed to chemicals in the air.

Cannons shooting fracking wastewater to increase evaporation at the Ignacio natural gas processing plant. Note the cracks in the dirt berm in the foreground. Photo courtesy of TEDX The Endocrine Disruption Exchange.

While drilling is relatively minimal in the Delta County region at this time, it is important to establish a baseline to determine the current levels of chemicals associated with drilling prior to any further gas and oil development, especially given the unique wind patterns in the area.  Also, many traditional air sampling projects overlook certain chemicals that can cause serious health effects at very low levels, which sometimes cannot be seen or smelled. CHC will test for these chemicals, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in sampling. The American Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says it is well “established” that PAHs are carcinogenic, and have been linked to infertility, immune disorders and fish mutation.

Understanding personal exposure to chemicals is important because of the health effects of certain chemicals used in, or released by, drilling and fracking. TEDX has outlined the risks in their report, Chemicals in Natural Gas Operations: Health Effects Summary. Other health effects include harm to the brain and the endocrine and nervous systems, organ damage, and cancer and other “symptoms such as burning eyes, rashes, coughs, sore throats, asthma-like effects, nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, tremors and convulsions.”

“It’s what we can’t see or smell—chemicals in the air that come from drilling—that could be harming the health of local families,” said Jim Ramey, director of CHC. “Our air sampling project could serve as a model for other communities across the country who are fighting to protect their health and environment from runaway drilling and fracking.”

Concerns in other gas-patch communities have informed the design of this project. For example, at the recent rulemakings of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, commissioners heard from numerous Garfield County and Front Range residents who have experienced health effects that they believe were caused by airborne pollution sourced from drilling. State officials frequently claim that Colorado has the strongest regulations for oil and gas in the nation, but people are still getting sick when drill rigs move in.

“Citizen science is critical to holding the drilling industry and government responsible,” said Weston Wilson, retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and currently with Be the Change - USA. “Very few communities have the opportunity to establish their air quality baseline before large scale drilling and fracking begin.”

Currently, drilling in the Delta County region is limited to several wells per year. But, the community is facing numerous proposals that could result in hundreds of new wells in the area.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Taylor Jones, RD

Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

It seems like every day a new diet is declared the healthiest — paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, to name a few — while government agencies regularly release their own recommended dietary guidelines. But there may not be an ideal one-size-fits-all diet, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Logging shown as part of a thinning and restoration effort in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon on Oct. 22, 2014. Oregon Department of Forestry / CC BY 2.0

The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Homes in Washington, DC's Brookland neighborhood were condemned to clear room for a highway in the 1960s. The community fought back. Brig Cabe / DC Public Library

By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia

In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."

Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators outside a Republican presidential debate in Detroit in 2016. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Michigan prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against government officials involved in the Flint water crisis Thursday, citing concerns about the investigation they had inherited from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) appointed by former Attorney General Bill Schuette, CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Samara Heisz / iStock / Getty Images

New York state has joined California, West Virginia, Arizona, Mississippi and Maine in ending religious exemptions for parents who prefer not to vaccinate their children, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less