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A new report issued by Global Community Monitor, GASSED! Citizen Investigation of Toxic Air Pollution from Natural Gas Development, details the air sampling results, environmental and public health threats with living amid the natural gas boom. During 2010-11, Global Community Monitor (GCM), responding to citizen odor and health complaints, launched a Bucket Brigade in northwest New Mexico, southwest Colorado and western Colorado to document and measure air pollution from natural gas facilities. Through the course of this pilot study, residents, armed with their own air monitors, documented a potent mix of chemicals in nine air samples from different locations, many of them located near homes, playgrounds, schools and community centers.
The lab detected a total of 22 toxic chemicals in the air samples, including four known carcinogens, as well as toxins known to damage the nervous system and respiratory irritants. The chemicals detected ranged from 3 to 3,000 times higher than what is considered safe by state and federal agencies.
These air samples confirm the observations, experiences and first-hand complaints of residents.
Odors and health effects that have been reported for years were consistent with exposure to the
chemicals found in the samples. These results underscore the need of regulatory agencies to take such complaints seriously, given the close proximity between the industry and its residential
For example, we’ve heard the sloganeering: “Clean & Safe, Natural Gas is energy’s future”. But with more and more information coming to light, it seems as if natural gas extraction and production through hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) might not be so clean and safe.
This false clean and safe aura has allowed most of the natural gas extraction and production to be exempt from widely accepted environmental regulations, including the Clean Air Act. Since fracking creates pollution, this exemption poses serious health risks to those living near fracking operations.
We’ve done the pollution tests, heard the horror stories from neighbors and seen the health effects, and now it finally looks like our legislators are taking action to protect families from an industry that is not so clean and safe.