Living Within a Half-Mile of Gas and Oil Site Can Threaten Your Health
In case you hadn’t noticed, there is currently another uptick in gas and oil drilling activity underway in the Ohio Valley. Many of us are experiencing the noise, light and truck activity first-hand as new drilling rigs go up all over our community. But those are far from the only concerns to your health and well-being from living in the shadow of a gas and oil operation. A new, comprehensive geospatial analysis reveals that some 17 million Americans, including almost 4 million children, are currently living within the zone of risk of health impacts from an active gas and oil site, including risks for birth defects, blood disorders, and cancer among others. The health threat radius is defined as living within a half-mile of an active gas and oil site, although researchers make the point that the zone of impact may be much larger, on the order of dozens of miles.
Methane emissions are one problem – connected to decreased air quality. But gas and oil drill sites emit a laundry list of harmful air pollutants—including benzene, which causes leukemia and other blood diseases. Leaks, blowouts, and other incidental releases can be particularly problematic. The study’s authors do note that this half-mile radius does not necessarily mean that health impacts are certain to occur within a half-mile of oil and gas facilities, but the threat is very real.
The researchers’ work on this issue also includes an interactive map, called the Oil and Gas Threat Map, that you can access here to see where your home or your kids’ school falls on the danger scale. And if you believe that your health has been impacted by living in the shadow of a gas and oil operation, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore your rights.