Colorado study points to air pollutants from fracking
(Bloomberg; March 19) - Chemicals released into the air when natural gas is produced by hydraulic fracturing may pose a health risk to those living nearby, the Colorado School of Public Health said. Researchers found potentially toxic airborne chemicals near wells in Garfield County, Colo., during three years of monitoring in the area about 180 miles west of Denver.
Emissions from the wells include methane and volatile organic compounds that react with heat and sunlight to form ozone, according to Elena Craft, a health scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund who is studying air quality near gas wells in Texas.
"It is important to include air pollution in the national dialogue on natural gas development that has focused largely on water exposures to hydraulic fracturing," said Lisa McKenzie, the study's lead writer and a research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health. The research focused on those living about a half-mile from the wells. County officials requested the study in response to the expansion of fracking in the state. One operator has proposed 200 wells about 500 feet from homes in the county.