New research from the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (SWPA-EHP) used an aggressive indoor air monitoring program to show that particulate matter spikes at night while residents are sleeping inside homes near fracking-enabled drilling.
This is not news to anyone who lives near fracking sites. They know the air emissions always and conveniently get much worse at night. In Texas it’s very difficult to get the TCEQ to respond to complaints at night. When they respond the next day or in the next few days, the air has cleared.
SWPA-EHP employs a nurse practitioner who conducts exams and offers consultations at people’s homes and offices. In 2012-13, they determined 27 health complaints were likely attributable to gas drilling activities, including dermal, respiratory and neurological symptoms and eye irritation.
“The acute impacts do seem to be the concern right now, and you can imagine if these people are getting spikes there are going to be acute impacts from that. What the long term effects are going to be, we’re not certain,” Ripple said.
Likely sources include flaring at wells, venting of gas at compressor stations, and activities at processing facilities, Ripple said.
This monitoring did not include volatile organic compounds.