Journalism in the Public Interest

Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

People who live close to natural gas drilling in four states complain of similar health symptoms, ranging from respiratory infections to lesions and neurological problems, but there is little science or study to get at the cause of their ailments.

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Andy Mechling

Sep. 30, 2011, 3:15 p.m.

Thank you for the fine and brave reporting.

But please; take a closer look at those air quality studies coming out of Texas before concluding that the nature of the chemistry involved somehow remains a mystery at this point.

I believe it is time for everyone involved to stop pretending that we don’t know what the problem chemicals are.  We clearly do now. I hope you will check this out.

From my perspective; all of the data in all of those studies points in exactly the same direction.  The problem is with the sulfur compounds; specifically carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide.

These have been the only chemicals detected above Texas health-protective levels.  Please see the Flower Mound study, the TITAN study, and the Fort Worth Nat Gas Air Quality Study.

In the latter, out of 138 chemicals monitored, only carbon disulfide shows elevated levels associated with proximity to those well sites.  And How!

Here is my main point:  This vital fact is completely ignored in the narrative sections of this “million dollar” air study.  PLEASE do some fact-checking on your own.  Skip the reading in all those studies, go straight to the data tables.  You will see what I mean.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the organic sulfur compounds, (carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide) neighborhood exposures surrounding natural gas facilities are only small part of a much bigger and growing problem.

Oil refinery tankage, coal processing, landfills everywhere, oil sands, asphalt especially, pesticide spills, fumigant drift, water treatment, paper mills . . .

Literally everywhere where there have been community odor complaints in the past decade, independent testing has revealed the presence of the organo-sulfur compounds, or there has been no testing for the sulfur compounds. 

Paul Blanc’s book is an absolute must-read on the subject of carbon disulfide toxicity.

The secrecy surrounding this compound is legendary; and remains     essentially in-tact in 2011 in my view. 

I want you to fact-check me.  If you contact me back, I will be able to substantiate all of this.

In the meantime, that Keystone Pipeline project looms large.  Please look up the definition of “bitumen”.  This stuff involves carbon disulfide BY DEFINITION. Or am I wrong?

What is “Diluted Bitumen”?  What do you suppose is in that natural gas “condensate” which makes it so valuable as a “diluent” for that pipeline project?  Do the Canadians have an air standard (Tolerable Concentration) for CS2 that the US does not?

What are we about to buy into here?

Its time to connect some dots already.

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This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

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