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UPDATES

January 9, 2011 - Michelle Bamberger, MS, DVM, and Robert E. Oswald, Professor of Pharmacology, Department of Molecular Medicine, Cornell University, have released their abstract, "Impact of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal 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."

Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human & Animal Health
(PDF - 194KB)


August 2011 - Reports of pet, livestock and wildlife deaths continue around the Marcellus Shale. Some of these deaths have been linked to ethylene glycol. It is most commonly known for it use as anti-freeze in cars, but it is also used at Marcellus gas well heads to prevent the gas from freezing.


Glycol tank at a Marcellus well

Wikipedia: Upon ingestion, ethylene glycol and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart and finally the kidneys. Ingestion of sufficient amounts can be fatal if untreated. Ethylene glycol in air will break down in about 10 days, and in water and soil it will break down within several days to a few weeks.

During a fall drought and subsequent period of low water flow in Pittsburgh rivers during the fall of 2008, the drinking water taken from local rivers by water plants began to change. A combination of low water levels and high TDS (total dissolved solids) created undesirable conditions, as the water began to taste bad. 
  


Stream pollution related to Marcellus Shale drilling activities

  
A local pet owner began to notice a red slime that would accumulate in the cat's water dish, half-jokingly calling it "red tide."  Similar accumulations have been noticed in toilets. Plumbers report more black-colored deposits in plumbing fixtures over the past few years, ever since hydraulic fracturing began in the Pittsburgh area. Manganese is one element known to make water black.
  
A lady from south of Pittsburgh who has several show dogs reports that her dogs began to develop crystals in their urine, a precursor to stones.
  

Around this same time Marcellus Shale gas drillers were raiding every source of water possible to obtain free water for hydraulic fracturing of their newest gas wells. This helped lower water shed levels. At the same time, produced water from fracking operations was being hauled to any municipal wastewater plant that would accept it. Many of these plants were ill-equipped to handle the high salt content of this brine water, let alone remove many of the heavy metals associated with TDS.
  
After the vet's diagnosis of urine crystals, the lady with show dogs switched them from the tap water that was coming out of the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh and began giving them bottled water. Their urine crystals cleared up.
  
Looking into this further, we found the following about urine crystals:

  • Urine crystals can be a risk factor for kidney stones

  • Kidney stones consist of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate which is also known as struvite

  • Struvite is a common problem in wastewater treatment plants, clogging lines and creating scale on pipes.

Link perhaps?
  


 
  

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