Drilling in Ohio’s Utica Shale is contributing to air pollution in Carroll County and could raise the health threat and cancer risk to residents, according to researchers involved in a new study.
But the number of air samples collected by researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University is too small to determine the risk from the hydrocarbon-based compounds, and additional testing is recommended.
There is just not enough evidence to determine if the air pollutants are an issue of big concern or a health threat, they said.
Drilling “may be contributing significantly to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air, at levels that are relevant to human health,” the researchers said in their report.
The study, funded by $150,000 in federal grants, marks the first time researchers have gathered data on air pollution near Ohio drilling, said environmental health professor Erin Haynes of the University of Cincinnati.
The results were released Thursday by Haynes and toxicologist Diana Rohlman of Oregon State at a public meeting. The information has been published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Carroll County southeast of Canton was selected because of concerns raised by local residents. It is the No. 1 drilling county in Ohio. It has 354 horizontal wells that are in production, more than any other county, according to state records.
The airborne levels of PAHs found in Carroll County were significantly higher than what was found by other researchers in downtown Chicago; South Haven, Mich.; a Belgian oil refinery; an Egyptian city; or the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The levels look pretty bad,” Haynes said. The Carroll numbers are “higher, much, much higher” than the other sites, she said.Read more by clicking here.
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