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Friday, July 8, 2016

2015 Carroll County Air Quality Study Retracted Due to Mathematical Error

Some of our readers may recall a widely-reported taxpayer-funded air study by the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University that we posted about here in May 2015 which found dangerous levels of contaminants in the air in Carroll County and looked to draw a link to oil and gas drilling.

There was some real uproar about the study at the time, as it purported that levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were high enough in the Carroll County area to pose real health risks to residents, including an increased threat of cancer. One resident even sent a copy of the analysis of results they had collected to us.

At the time the results were released, the researchers made some alarming statements, as the Akron Beacon Journal reported:
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.
They also stated that the PAH levels were higher the closer the residents were to drilling sites.  However, Energy in Depth later reported that one Carroll County landowner who was involved in the study shared his results, which revealed that some of the highest readings in the study were found on his property, which was much farther (over 10 miles) from drilling sites than most involved in the study.

This is the background which leads up to the latest news about this study, which is that the study has been retracted by the researchers involved.  Basic mathematical calculations were performed incorrectly, which meant that the concentrations reported were inaccurate and the conclusions reached were invalid.

Here is the announcement:


You can read Energy in Depth's coverage of the retraction by clicking here.

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