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Report says oil and gas production will exacerbate asthma in children

Report says oil and gas production will exacerbate asthma in children

About 30,000 children in Ohio, including 7,000 in the Columbus area, will suffer asthma attacks each year by 2025 because of smog created by oil and gas operations, according to a new report.

The report, released Wednesday by the Boston-based Clean Air Task Force, also quantified the average days of school missed and hours spent inside due to air pollution. The report should serve as a wake-up call for U.S. and Ohio residents, said Melanie Houston, director of oil and gas for the Ohio Environmental Council.

“It’s really important for folks to know that this can affect their sons and daughters, their nephews and nieces,” Houston said. “We need safeguards in place to protect our children.”

The Clean Air Task Force worked with two other environmental advocacy groups to map the data by state, county and city. The groups found that smog travels beyond regions with oil and gas facilities, said Lesley Fleischman, a research analyst at the Clean Air Task Force and lead author on the report.

In addition to the high-impact areas they anticipated, such as Denver and Pittsburgh, other cities on the map that lit up with air pollution include New York, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Columbus is listed as the 22nd highest-impact metro area in the country.

“It shows that pollution travels great distances,” Fleischman said. “This is really a national issue and not just an issue for people who live right next door to an oil or gas facility.”

Although pollution — and, by extension, asthma attacks — are concentrated in urban areas, the rural United States is starting to feel the effects of the oil and gas industries, as well, Houston said.

Nationwide, the report estimates that 750,000 summertime asthma attacks will occur among children each year, resulting in 500,000 days of school missed; 2,000 asthma-related emergency room visits; 600 respiratory-related hospital admissions; and 1.5 million days of restricted activity.

Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said the Clean Air Task Force neglected to account for new industry regulations in Ohio that have “significantly improved” emissions.

“They’re using outdated data and not taking into account industry advances in technology or advancements in regulatory process that have taken care of the vast majority of emissions,” Bennett said.

Fleischman acknowledged the analysis has caveats, but said the Clean Air Task Force used the most recent available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That data is from 2011.

However, her organization also used the EPA’s projections for 2025 to “capture and correct” that data, she said.

The group only accounted for new or updated state regulations in Wyoming and Colorado, Fleischman said.

 

Source: Columbus Dispatch

By Emily Tate The Columbus Dispatch    Wednesday August 31, 2016 5:07 PM

LINK: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/08/31/Oil-and-gas-report.html

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Link to the Clean Air Task Force Report:

http://www.catf.us/resources/publications/view/226#.V8jZ0INb6Ck.email

 

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LINK to the another report by Environmental Health Perspectives

Associations between Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Nasal and Sinus, Migraine Headache, and Fatigue Symptoms in Pennsylvania

ehp symptoms aug2016 document_ew_01

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