“Oil and gas emissions, health research suggests pollution standards are inadequate” – Times-Call Local News

“Oil and gas emissions, health research suggests pollution standards are inadequate: Review of 37 studies published this month considered data collected on Front Range, throughout U.S.”

By Sam Lounsberry, Times-Call Local News 4/10/19 (also published in Boulder Daily Camera)

“A paper published this month suggests recent air quality study models and pollution level recommendations are inadequate to gather appropriate data to inform policy or explain unhealthy symptoms in people living near active oil and gas development.”

“The paper in the Annual Review of Public Health was written by California and New York researchers and included analysis of 37 peer-reviewed journal articles on oil and gas emissions published between 2012 and February 2018, several of which studied extraction site data measured on Colorado’s Front Range. Data observed in seven other states and Poland also was reviewed.” Link to paper https://www.annualreviews.org/…/annurev-publhealth-040218-0…

“Because recommended safe limits for individual air pollutants are usually set by accounting for health risks caused by exposure to just one substance at a time, standards might need to become more stringent to protect people against impacts that are possibly worsened and expedited by contact with and ingestion of multiple substances simultaneously and over time, which is possible near drilling, the paper states.”

“The paper also concluded that hazardous air pollutants — for which there are no regulatory standards, but only recommended thresholds to avoid exposure to, according to a Colorado researcher — are associated at possibly dangerous levels with the production phase of oil and gas development, and not just the fracking stage, as commonly thought.”

“It also noted there is a spatial correlation between people’s unhealthy symptoms and oil and gas development sites, even though pollutant concentrations captured near operations often measure below health benchmarks.”

“The reason for that is unclear, the paper stated, but it suggested current sampling methods for pollutants near oil and gas sites might ‘fail to capture the episodic peak emission events characteristic of upstream oil and natural gas’ development, and that ‘prevailing health benchmarks are inadequate to identify exposures to chronic, low levels of pollutants, multiple chemical exposures or from multiple exposure pathways.'”

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