On behalf of the undersigned organizations and health professionals, we write this letter to address the need for additional health and safety regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF). HVHF is a public health concern that requires further analysis and regulations to protect Ohioans. The provision added to Senate Bill 315 which would prevent physicians from sharing concerns about...
On behalf of the undersigned organizations and health professionals, we write this letter to address the need for additional health and safety regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF). HVHF is a public health concern that requires further analysis and regulations to protect Ohioans. The provision added to Senate Bill 315 which would prevent physicians from sharing concerns about patients’ exposure to chemicals with their local Health Departments or first responders is an added threat to public health and would put our patients and communities at risk.
HVHF threatens public health through contamination of our air, water and soil. Dr. Theo Colborn reported in Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective that over 353 chemicals are used in HVHF and that 40-50% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular system and kidneys, 37% affect the endocrine system and 25% could cause cancer and mutations. Many have 10 or more adverse health effects. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and the Environment’s report, Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing, identified 29 chemicals used in 650 different products that are carcinogens, hazardous air pollutants and that are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. USEPA detected 2-BE in water wells in Pavillion, WY as well as benzene, phenols, acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel – all recorded HVHF chemicals. 2-BE, is easily absorbed and causes hemolysis and damage to the liver, spleen and bone marrow. A 2012 Colorado School of Public Health study, Human Health Risk Assessment of Air Emissions from Development of Unconventional Natural Gas Resources, found that residents living within a half mile of wells are at greater risk for health effects from natural gas development and have increased cancer risks, with benzene the most significant contributor to this increased risk. The authors also concluded, “Subchronic exposures to air pollutants during well completion activities present the greatest potential for health effects.” Air pollution from HVHF includes diesel exhaust, drilling emissions, fine particulates from truck traffic, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, ground level ozone and greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4. Chronic exposure to ground level ozone causes asthma and COPD.
The 2005 Energy Policy Act included an amendment that prevented the use of the Safe Drinking Water Act to regulate HVHF. HVHF operations and wastes are also exempted from regulation by sections of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (superfund), Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Health and safety regulations are seriously lacking. Drill cuttings, sludge and other solids are allowed to be disposed of on site or at a landfill even though they may contain high levels of radioactivity and carcinogens. HVHF produced wastewater can be sprayed on roads and chemical disclosure requirements are limited.
For the health and welfare of Ohio's citizens and our children, HVHF requires additional health and safety regulations and a comprehensive health impact analysis. Thank you for your consideration of this information and our request.