If you live near natural gas extraction and believe the emissions are making you sick, here is what one woman did to get our state to take action.
Sandra DenBraber was made very ill from the UTA/Carrizo Oil and Gas drilling less than 600 feet from her home.
I kept pushing for enforcement of the Texas Administrative Code, kept very good records of fumes and their effect on my health and had a physician that knew proper documentation of exposure in relationship to health. Because I made myself a squeeky wheel with the TCEQ and everytime the fumes made me ill I filed a complaint. The TCEQ was able to prove that there was no other source for my exposure except the UTA/Carrizo drill site.
I tell you this because if you are new to gas drilling or are just connecting the dots this is extremely important in making your case. Please document, document, and document some more. I know even I got tired of documenting but the result was a violation with enforcement against Carrizo Oil and Gas.
I based my actions on the following Texas Administrative Code and wanted this enforced.
Texas Administrative Code
No person shall discharge from any source whatsoever one or more air contaminants or combinations thereof, in such concentration and of such duration as are or may tend to be injurious to or to adversely affect human health or welfare, animal life, vegetation, or property, or as to interfere with the normal use and enjoyment of animal life, vegetation, or property.
The cases I am sending in a second email support this law.
It is also important to document every thing that happens when, where, how long, what was done, have TCEQ Odor log and make complaints to them, and tell doctor how close to drilling and have doctor follow the following guidelines when giving care.CHEMICAL EXPOSURE HISTORY: Accepted Medical Criteria
Medically recognized criteria are available for taking a proper history of chemical/toxic exposure. These are used to evaluate illness caused by exposures.
These criteria include:
- The relationship in time between the onset of illness and toxic exposures.
- Improvement of symptoms during times away from exposure (e.g., vacations, etc.).
- Recurrence or worsening of symptoms after re-exposure.
This basic information requires a more detailed history if the above information suggests potential toxic exposure. Additional information should include a more detailed exposure history, including information on duration and intensity of exposure, how the person worked with or was exposed to the toxin, how absorption into the body could have occurred, and protective measures such as respirators, protective clothing etc. to reduce exposure.
When possible, physicians are encouraged to obtain more detailed exposure history such as safety data sheets, etc. under the Hazard Communication Standard.
While these criteria have long been recognized, they were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association 256: 678-680, 1991. The authors are national experts in occupational disease: Dr. Landrigan and Dr. Baker at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.
If symptoms increase make sure your physician documents any and all treatments, tests and complaints about drilling and ask your physician for a letter stating such for the TCEQ. Then make sure Tony Walker and Alyssa Taylor are sent the letter. The key is to document exposure complaints with every way possible.
Have the TCEQ out for complaints get a suma canister from them if necessary. All this helps document exposure and if all of the people exposed would do more we can have a greater impact on change.
If you have questions please feel free to contact me.
Two court cases:
If you have health impacts and would like to contribute to our case studies, please let me know.
Keep Track and Speak Up – From the Argyle – Bartonville Communities Alliance
UPDATE: A questionnaire from Sandra’s doctor:
Do you live close to a drilling rigs? Yes / No How close?____How long?___
Do you live close to compressor station? Yes / NO How close?______How long?_____
Other drilling related exposure? Yes / No How close?______How long____
Have there been any air samples taken? Yes / NO
Do you have a copy of the results from air samples? Yes / No
When did symptoms begin?____________
List symptoms from most severe to least severe:
Did you have any symptoms before drilling?_________________________