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Fracking and Health Awareness Project

By Barb Harris

A new website,, aims to gather in one place a wide range of information including studies, news, analysis and commentary on health issues associated with shale gas industrial development and fracking.

The new website includes information on potential exposures through air, water and food, specific risks to workers health and children’s health, impacts on animal health, especially farm animals, and impacts on mental health and well-being. The site contains links to peer-reviewed studies, statements by physicians’ organizations, commentary and news from a wide variety of sources.

At you will find links to material including:

Town of Dish, Texas Ambient Air Monitoring Analysis by Wolf Eagle Environmental. This analysis from the tiny community of Dish was one of the first air quality studies to document dangerous levels of air pollutants including carcinogenic benzene. The shocking results paved the way for further study of air quality and associated health risks for people living close to shale gas fields.

Gas Patch Roulette, a detailed health impact analysis of Pennsylvania residents living near gas fields. Conducted by Earthworks, the study concludes that:

  • Contaminants associated with oil and gas development are present in air and water in many communities where development is occurring.
  • Many residents have developed health symptoms that they did not have before—indicating the strong possibility that they are occurring because of gas development.
  • By permitting widespread gas development without fully understanding its impacts to public health—and using that lack of knowledge to justify regulatory inaction—Pennsylvania and other states are risking the public’s health.

Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Recommendations Concerning Shale Gas Development in New Brunswick, a ground-breaking document which starts from guiding principles of public health, outlines what is known and what is not known about shale gas and health, and sets out recommendations for how the province should proceed in order to protect public health if it moves ahead with shale gas development. The report’s recommendations have been largely ignored by the provincial government, but embraced by many citizens.

Taking the Handle off the Fracking Pump, a conference presentation by environmental biologist Sandra Steingraber is an eloquent plea to apply lessons of public health protection and human rights principles to stop fracking, which Steingraber describes as “a vast human experiment whose study subjects did not volunteer.”

Trailer for CJ’s Law, a new film on worker safety in the gas fields by academy award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox. Fox’s first film Gaslands brought fracking to international attention, visually documenting flaming faucets and contaminated well water in Pennyslvania. Fox now turns his lens on the health and safety of workers in the shale gas fields.

All this and more at, a project of the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia.

Also in the JULY 2013 Issue of An Ounce

Published: July 1st, 2013