Fracking raises concerns among community leaders, study indicates

(Phys.org) —Community leaders in areas that are considering hydraulic fracturing express a number of concerns about the practice's potential impact on public health, according to a new study co-authored by the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine researcher.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS), is published online ahead of print in Reviews on Environmental Health, an international quarterly journal, under the title, "Unconventional development and public health: toward a community-informed research agenda."

The lead author is Katrina Korfmacher, PhD, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Erin Haynes, DrPH, an associate professor in the UC College of Medicine's Department of Environmental Health, is a co-author, along with Kathleen Gray of the University of North Carolina's UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility.

"We hope that these findings will help guide research questions in the near future," says Haynes, a member of the UC Center for Environmental Genetics, which is housed in the department.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is an unconventional method which typically involves the injection of pressurized water mixed with sand and chemicals into drilled wells to bring up natural gas from deep shale formations. The process has raised a number of environmental concerns, including air and water quality.

The authors—representing the Community Outreach and Engagement Cores from UC, the University of Rochester and the University of North Carolina—assessed concerns in three states: Ohio, New York and North Carolina. Each state is at a different stage of natural gas extraction development. (It is suspended in New York, under debate in North Carolina and expanding rapidly in eastern Ohio.)

The authors conducted in-depth interviews with 48 community leaders in the three states. The objective was to obtain a broad and diverse spectrum of perspectives on health issues related to natural . Interviewees included residents/homeowners, environmental advocates, members of local government, business leaders, educators, members of the media and public health professionals.

The authors found that the study participants raised similar sets of issues, regardless of their location. The five most common concerns were:

  • Water quality and quantity. An additional concern was the lack of sufficient information on the specific chemicals used by drilling companies and whether local water supplies would be depleted because of the high volume required by the fracking process.
  • Air emissions, including impact on air quality by the evaporation of chemicals from holding ponds, emissions brought to the surface from the wells themselves and emissions from the trucks and equipment that service the drilling sites.
  • Quality of life and economic issues. While some interviewees emphasized the economic benefits expected to accrue from natural gas development, others raised concerns including the potential impact of increased traffic, housing costs and crime rates.
  • Public health and health care, including concerns about direct and indirect burdens on public health and health care systems. Conversely, some interviewees noted that economic development could lead to improved population health.
  • Vulnerable populations. Concerns included the unequal health and economic impact on community residents depending on their socioeconomic status.

Participants also indicated that it was difficult to find unbiased sources of information on the potential impact of natural gas development. The authors found that there was a clear demand for research that addressed those concerns and could help communities grapple with decisions over how to protect in the face of environmental, economic and social changes associated with .


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More information: The complete paper is available online: www.urmc.rochester.edu/MediaLi … ct-report-091514.pdf
Citation: Fracking raises concerns among community leaders, study indicates (2014, September 16) retrieved 27 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-fracking-leaders.html
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Sep 16, 2014
EARTHQUAKES! Something that comes with fracking or any growth of petroleum wells are waste water injection wells. That practice is being blamed on thousands of earthquakes in Oklahoma just this year alone. Frequent visitors to phys.org may have seen me comment on fracking articles before, and I apologize; it's hard to keep quite when I see articles about fracking on one of my favorite science news websites...

I don't feel all of them, but the 4.0+ you can usually feel 50-100 miles away, or more depending on location. You'll feel ones even down in the 2's when they're just a few miles away (or a feet, they're closer than the error radius). I have felt three in just over 12 hours, including 4.1, 3.2 and 3.0 (all ~6mi from me). The OK Geological Survey has CSV files of all EQs, I've been keeping up. Of the 3427 in 2014 (not a typo), 656 have been <10 miles away, five of those have been 4.0+. Total for past 12 months, 4588. http://www.okgeos...alog.php

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