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Posted Sun Apr 6 2014: from Grist:
Pennsylvania officials have no idea how to assess health threats of fracking
An alarming new study by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, published in the journal Reviews on Environmental Health, finds that current methods and tools used to measure harmful emissions from fracking wells don't accurately assess health threats - not even close, in fact.... Another method is to track hourly emissions over a given day or week. These might not capture rapid and brief increases in chemical exposure, which can cause real harm to bodily systems. SPEHP reports that emissions near drilling sites can fluctuate wildly, and toxic chemical particles can reach high levels of concentration in the air in a very short period of time - as little as a minute or two - and then drop back down. This can occur repeatedly throughout drilling, but might not be captured by the tools or methods customarily used to measure emissions. SPEHP researchers collected data on levels of four toxic chemicals in 14 households near fracking sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, and found that contamination was concentrated at peak levels - three times the median level of concentration - about 30 percent of the time, but in spurts. These short blasts of contamination can go undetected by tools customarily used to measure emissions.
[Read more stories about: fracking, health impacts]

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