Tuesday, October 31, 2023

University Of Pittsburgh Studies Of Shale Gas Development Health Impacts To Be Discussed At Nov. 14 Joint Meeting Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council, Environmental Justice Advisory Board

On November 14, DEP’s
Citizens Advisory Council and Environmental Justice Advisory Board will hear a presentation from the state Department of Health on studies released in August from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health on the health impacts of shale gas development.

The Council and Board will also hear a report from Interim Acting DEP Secretary Jessica Shirley.

Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and State Epidemiologist, will lead the discussion.

The studies were designed to answer this study question: “Does living near unconventional gas development activities or other environmental hazards in Southwestern Pennsylvania increase the risk for specific health issues?”

The study area includes these counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania--  Allegheny (excluding the City of Pittsburgh), Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

The studies found shale gas wells--

-- Can Make Asthma Worse: “We learned that there was a strong link between the production phase of unconventional natural gas development and severe exacerbations, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for asthma in people living within 10 miles of one or more wells producing natural gas.

“Specifically, people with asthma have a 4 to 5 times greater chance of having an asthma attack if they live near unconventional natural gas development wells during the production phase.

"We did not find such a link during the well preparation, drilling, or hydraulic fracturing phases.”

-- Lymphoma More Likely In Children: “Results indicated that children who lived within 1 mile of one or more wells had approximately 5 to 7 times the chance of developing lymphoma, a relatively rare type of cancer, compared to children who lived in an area without wells within 5 miles.

“Data suggest that those who lived closer to greater intensity of unconventional natural gas development activities had the highest risk.

“For perspective, the incidence of lymphoma is, on average, 0.0012% in US children under 20 years of age.  [This study] estimates that rate would be 0.006% to 0.0084% for children living within 1 mile of a well.”

-- No Link To Childhood Leukemia, Certain Cancers: “There were no associations between unconventional natural gas development activities and childhood leukemia, brain and bone cancers, including Ewing’s family of tumors.”

-- Slightly Lower Birth Weights: “We learned that babies were about 1 ounce smaller at birth-- something that, in most cases, poses little health risk-- when born to mothers who lived near active wells during the production phase, or compressor stations or facilities accepting oil and gas waste.

“We also found that mothers who lived near active wells were more likely to have babies who were small for gestational age.

“Finally, the chance of being born prematurely was not specifically associated with unconventional natural gas development, but high levels of particulate air pollution from any source were associated with being born prematurely, consistent with previous studies from other researchers.”

Click Here to learn more.

Public Comment Period

Individuals interested in providing public comment during the joint meeting must sign up in advance of the meeting by contacting Ian Irvin, Executive Director of the CAC,  at iirvin@pa.gov

Join The Meeting

The joint meeting will be held in Room 105 Rachel Carson Building starting at 12:30 p.m.  Click Here for options for joining the meeting remotely.

For more information and available handouts, visit the DEP Citizens Advisory Council webpage.   Visit the Council webpage for options to join the meeting remotely.  Questions should be directed to Ian Irvin, Executive Director, by sending email to iirvin@pa.gov or call 717-787-8771.

For more information on Environmental Justice, visit DEP’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board webpage.  Questions should be directed to RA-EPOEJ@pa.gov or 717-772-5633.

Upcoming Events

-- Shell Accountability Campaign Hosts Nov. 2 Shell Petrochemical Plant Town Hall Meeting On Emergency Response Plans In Beaver County  [PaEN]

-- PA League Of Women Voters, University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health Nov. 14 Shale Gas & Public Health Conference  [PaEN]

Articles Related To The Agenda:

-- University Of Pittsburgh School Of Public Health Studies Find Shale Gas Wells Can Make Asthma Worse; Children Have An Increased Chance Of Developing Lymphoma Cancer; Slightly Lower Birth Weights  [PaEN] 

-- State Dept. Of Health Apologizes For Not Listening To Communities Suffering Health Impacts From Shale Gas Development; New Health Study Results ‘Just The Tip Of The Iceberg’  [PaEN] 

-- State Dept. Of Health Invites Citizens To File Environmental Health Complaints Related To Natural Gas Development; Health Will Also Review Environmental Test Results [PaEN] 

-- Between The Lines Podcast: Pediatrician Dr. Ned Ketyer Explains The Results Of New Studies Of The Health Impacts Of Natural Gas Development On Children And Adults  [PaEN] 

-- 9th Compendium Of Studies On Health & Environmental Harms From Natural Gas Development Released - ‘The Rapidly Expanding Body Of Evidence Compiled Here Is Massive, Troubling And Cries Out For Decisive Action’  [PaEN] 

-- House Environmental Committee To Hold Oct. 30 Hearing On Bill Increasing Setback Safety Zones From Shale Natural Gas Drilling Sites, Infrastructure Based On Latest Science, Grand Jury Report  [PaEN]

-- Gov. Shapiro: We Need Stronger Laws To Deal With The ‘Corporate Greed’ That Let Oil & Gas Operators Get Away With Abandoning Wells For Far Too Long  [PaEN]

More Environmental & Health Impact Articles:

-- Click Here for more articles on oil and gas infrastructure impacts on health and the environment.

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - Oct. 28 to Nov. 3 - Fire At PA General Energy Shale Gas Well Pad; 5 More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Replugging Shale Gas Well  [PaEN] 

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - November 4  [PaEN]

-- DEP Posted 57 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In Nov. 4 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Gov. Shapiro, CNX Natural Gas Company Sign Statement Of Mutual Interests To Monitor Air Emissions At Drill Sites, Extend Safety Setbacks While Data Is Being Collected; DEP To Move Ahead With Some Reg Changes  [PaEN]

-- Evangelical Environmental Network Thanks Gov. Shapiro For Defending Children's Health Thru An Agreement With CNX Natural Gas; Believes In Repenting Of Sins, 2nd Chances  [PaEN]

-- Attorney General Henry Announces Criminal Charges Against Equitrans For 2018 Natural Gas Explosion That Destroyed Home In Greene County  [PaEN]

-- House Committee Hearing On Increasing Safety Setbacks Zones Around Natural Gas Facilities Heard About First-Hand Citizen Experiences On Health Impacts, From Physicians On Health Studies And The Gas Industry On Job Impacts  [PaEN]

-- Sen. Yaw, Republican Chair Of Senate Environmental Committee, Calls Bill To Reduce Shale Gas Industry Impacts On Health, Environment ‘Stupid’  [PaEN] 

-- University Of Pittsburgh Studies Of Shale Gas Development Health Impacts To Be Discussed At Nov. 14 Joint Meeting Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council, Environmental Justice Advisory Board  [PaEN]

-- PA League Of Women Voters, University Of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health Nov. 14 Shale Gas & Public Health Conference  [PaEN] 

-- Marcellus Drilling News: Mariner East 2X Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline Being Repaired After Dent Discovered In Chester County During Maintenance Check  [PaEN]

-- PUC Issues Emergency Order To PA American Water To Operate Troubled East Dunkard Water Authority In Greene County; Lawsuit Filed Alleging Water Tainted By Mine Drainage, Shale Gas Operations  [PaEN]

-- Philadelphia LNG Export Task Force Issues Report On The Best Ways To Increase Exports Of PA's Natural Gas; Minority Report Rebuts Need For LNG Facility, Outlines Impacts  [PaEN]

-- Protect PT Holds Nov. 11 Workshop On Living Near Shale Gas In Westmoreland County  [PaEN] 

[Posted: October 31, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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