Colorado Health Study Finds Major Risks from Fracking
An eagerly awaited health study regarding the safety of fracking has been released. The study, conducted by consulting firm ICF International, found that oil a gas drilling caused health risks at distances greater than the currently established “setback” distance of 500 feet from single family homes and 11oo feet from high occupancy buildings. The study found that there were negative health effects from fracking ranging from 300 feet to 2000 feet.
“Exposure to chemicals used in oil and gas development, such as benzene, may cause short-term negative health impacts…during ‘worst-case’ conditions,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a press release.
Prop 112, a defeated proposition in the 2018 ballot, would have changed fracking setback distances to 2500 feet, an effectively safe distance based on this study. The study was not available before the election, which has caused some speculation that there were payoffs in order to ensure that the measure did not pass.
State toxicologist Kristy Richardson said the study is consistent with reports from Colorado residents near fracking sites in recent years. Residents have complained of headaches, nosebleeds, respiratory issues, and skin irritation.
“This study is the first of its kind because it used actual emissions data to model potential exposure and health risks,” John Putnam, the CDPHE’s environmental program director, said in a statement on the study’s release.
The study is consistent with 84% of 700 other similar studies over a 6-year period that have reported on the health hazards of fracking.
“Working with our partners and CDPHE, we will immediately enact stricter and safer precautionary review measures to protect public health, safety, welfare, the environment,” Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, director Jeff Robbins said in a statement.