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A Perspective on Health and Natural Gas Operations: A Report for Denton City Council

A Perspective on Health and Natural Gas Operations: A Report for Denton City Council

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Published by Brandon Cooper
A review of natural gas drilling literature, especially as it pertains to Denton County, from three citizens in the area.
A review of natural gas drilling literature, especially as it pertains to Denton County, from three citizens in the area.

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Published by: Brandon Cooper on Dec 23, 2011
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09/28/2014

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 A Perspective on Health and Natural Gas Operations: A Report 
 
for  Denton City Council
December 21, 2011Authors:Jessica Gullion, PhDNaomi Meier, M.S.Rhonda Love, PhD
 
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ……………………………………………………….. 3Introduction ………………………………………………………………... 4Air Pollution ……………………………………………………………….. 4Water Pollution …………………………………………………………….. 5Human Health Toxins ……………………………………………………… 7Short Summary of Several Local StudiesTown of DISH, Texas Ambient Air MonitoringAnalysis Final Report. Wolf-Eagle Environmental.September 15, 2009 ………………………………………………… 9DISH, Texas Exposure Investigation: DISH, DentonCounty, Texas. Texas Department of State Health Services.May 12, 2010 ………………………………………………………. 9Limited Ambient Air Evaluation: Town of Flower Mound,Multiple Locations, Flower Mound, Denton, County, Texas.Kleinfelder, March 11, 2010 ………………………………………. 10Emissions from Natural Gas Productions in the Barnett ShaleArea and Opportunities for Cost-Effective Improvements.Armendariz. January 26, 2009 .………………………….….……… 11City of Fort Worth Natural Gas Air Quality Study. EasternResearch Group. Sage Environmental Consulting, LP.July 13, 2011 ……………………………………………..…….…... 11Science and Policy Making ……………………………………..…………. 12Conclusions ………………………………………………………...………. 15References ………………………………………………...………………… 16Appendix ………………………………………………...…………………. 18
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 Executive Summary
North Texas has seen a dramatic rise in natural gas production. Many communities have reapedthe benefits of welcoming the gas industry in to explore and harvest natural gas reserves in theirareas. But the natural gas boom has also presented these same communities with problems. Thereis growing concern about the health effects of living near natural gas exploration and production.Pollution has negative impacts on human health. Portions of our community – such as childrenand the elderly, and those already coping with chronic health conditions – are more vulnerable tothese hazards than others. We recommend all possible public health protection measures berequired for oil and gas drilling and related activities in Denton. The information presented hereis a brief review of selected literature and studies related to the health effects of natural gasdrilling. The main conclusions drawn from this review include:Concerns have been raised about the effects of gas exploration and production on air quality,drinking water, and other damages to the natural environment, all of which directly impacthuman health.Evidence suggests there is no threshold below which air pollution does not have a negativeimpact on health. Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex has consistently been defined as a "non-attainment area," with levels of air pollution exceeding limits in the National Ambient AirQuality Standards. Much of this results from vehicle emissions, but much also comes fromindustrial activities.Water-related pollution concerns include contamination of aquifers, discharge into fresh watersupplies, and the large quantities of water that the process uses. New studies are being releasedwhich report water contamination from gas drilling. Is has been estimated that the waterconsumed in this fracking process is equivalent to the amount of water consumed by 5 millionpeople each year.Numerous contaminants have been identified at natural gas operations in the Barnett Shaleincluding volatile organic compounds (VOCs); diesel exhaust; nitrogen and sulfuric oxides(NOx, Sox); ozone; particulate matter; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); heavy metals;and hydrogen sulfide. All of these contaminants are known to pose a threat to human health.We recommend that policy-making bodies be governed by the Precautionary Principle, whichstates:"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment,precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships arenot fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather thanthe public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionaryprinciple must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affectedparties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including noaction." - Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle, January, 1998 (Scienceand Environmental Health Network, www.sehn.org )
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