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Your Environment. Your Health.

A Second Look at the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

Illustration of a fracking well and how the pipe goes down into the Earth's crust
(Photo courtesy of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility, the University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center, and the University of Cincinnati Center for Environmental Genetics.)

November 11, 2014

In this podcast, we consider how our understanding of the impacts of fracking has evolved since we last tackled the issue in 2013. Despite continued debate over the potential public health risks of fracking, many research questions remain unanswered. However, one thing seems clear: community members have an important role to play in research on the impacts of fracking.

Experts

Headshot of Penning

Trevor M. Penning, Ph.D., is the Thelma Brown and Henry Charles Molinoff Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and OB/GYN and is the Director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Internationally recognized for his research on steroid hormone enzymology and mechanisms by which polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons cause cancer, his research is now focused on the emerging role of Aldo-Keto Reductases (AKRs) in hormonal and chemical carcinogenesis. He is a Chair of the Inter-Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Working Group on Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling Operations.

Headshot of Gray

Kathleen Gray is the director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core in the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has more than 20 years of experience conducting environmental health education with community audiences and assisting businesses and government agencies in making sustainable choices. She is a member of the Inter-Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Working Group on Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling Operations. She holds an MSPH in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BS in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

For More Information

Hydraulic Fracturing and Health
Get the basics about fracking and environmental health from this NIEHS factsheet.

Hydraulic Fracturing
Learn about ongoing studies and the state of the science at this website maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

FracFocus
Search for information about specific hydraulic fracturing wells, chemical use, regulations and more at this website from the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Health Impact Assessment of Shale Gas Extraction
Read a workshop summary on this topic from the Institute of Medicine. Or, browse presentations and videos from the 2012 workshop.

Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking
Find presentations, reports, and background information about this 2013 forum hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Or, download the UCS Fracking Informational Toolkit for helpful tips on finding and evaluating information about hydraulic fracking.

Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing
Read why airborne silica can present a health risk to workers on unconventional natural gas drilling sites at this website from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Energy in Brief: Shale in the United States
Learn the basics about shale oil and natural gas resources and where they are found in the United States from this factsheet of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: An Update
Find in-depth information about the extraction of natural gas from shale via hydraulic fracturing and other methods in this 2013 report of the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.

References

Penning TM, Breysse PN, Gray K, Howarth M, Yan B. 2014. Environmental Health Research Recommendations from the Inter-Environmental Health Sciences Core Center Working Group on Unconventional Natural Gas Drilling Operations. Environ Health Persp 122(11):1155-1159.

Adgate JL, Goldstein BD, McKenzie LM. 2014. Potential public health hazards, exposures and health effects from unconventional natural gas development. Environ Sci Technol 48(15):8307-8320.

Korfmacher KS, Gray KM, Haynes E. 2014. Health impacts of unconventional natural gas development: A comparative assessment of community information needs in New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. Final Project Report, UR-UNC-UC Supplement 2012-13.

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Send comments, questions, and suggestions for future podcast topics to  podcast@niehs.nih.gov

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