By Michelle Bamberger, Robert E. Oswald CONCLUSION “Animals, especially livestock, are sensitive to the contaminants released into the environment by drilling and by its cumulative impacts. Documentation of cases in six states strongly implicates exposure to gas drilling operations in serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife. Although the lack of complete testing of water, air, soil and animal tissues hampers thorough analysis of the connection between gas drilling and health, policy changes could assist in the collection of more complete data sets and also partially mitigate the risk to humans and animals. Without complete studies, given the many apparent adverse impacts on human and animal health, a ban on shale gas drilling is essential for the protection of public health. In states that nevertheless allow this process, the use of commonsense measures to reduce the impact on human and animals must be required in addition to full disclosure and testing of air, water, soil, animals, and humans.”
“ABSTRACT Environmental concerns surrounding drilling for gas are intense due to expansion of shale gas drilling operations. Controversy surrounding the impact of drilling on air and water quality has pitted industry and lease- holders against individuals and groups concerned with environmental protection and public health. Because animals often are exposed continually to air, soil, and groundwater and have more frequent reproductive cycles, animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health. This study involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations. The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts. Complete evidence regarding health impacts of gas drilling cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing and disclosure of chemicals, and nondisclosure agreements. Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale.
We would like to thank Sandra Podulka (Cornell University) and Dr. Sandra Steingraber (Ithaca College) for comments on an early draft of the manuscript.”