On May 2nd, there will be the first ever public forum in Allegheny County on the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing Marcellus Shale gas extraction. In January of this year, Christopher Portier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, noted that studies need to be done to examine whether wastewater from shale gas drilling can harm people or animals and the vegetables they eat. From Bloomberg.com:
Some “data of concern” are showing up at fracking sites, Portier said. Fluids used in drilling contain “potentially hazardous chemical classes” including petroleum distillates, volatile organic compounds and glycol ethers. Wastewater may also contain salts and be radioactive, he said.
In December, the EPA said for the first time that it had found chemicals consistent with those used in drilling in groundwater near wells in Wyoming. The driller, Encana Corp. (ECA), has disputed the agency’s findings.
There have long been concerns about the health effects of fracking. On December 7, 2010, Pittsburgh became the first major city in the United States to ban natural gas drilling in a unanimous vote by Pittsburgh City Council which cited health and environmental concerns.
Speakers for the May forum will include Dr. Bernard Goldstein, Pitt Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), and Dr. Jill Kriesky, GSPH Senior Project Coordinator. Both speakers have extensive expertise and experience in this field. Technical information will be discussed, but presented for a general audience. Speakers will also address the recent state law (“Act 13”) which some think may prevent physicians who treat victims of toxic chemicals in the fracking and related processes from keeping their patients fully informed.
The forum is being sponsored by the 14th Ward Democratic Committee, the 7th Ward Democratic Committee and the 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club. It’s free and open to the public. You can see a flier for the forum here.
“The Health Effects of Marcellus Fracking How Safe Is It?”
When: Wednesday May 2, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Where: 1st Unitarian Church, 605 Morewood Ave. (Ellsworth & Morewood Avenues), Pittsburgh, PA1 5213 (map)