Dead Calves and Hairless Puppies
Two scientists have tracked the impacts of shale gas drilling on animals and recently published an article in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. The piece details farmers’ experiences when their livestock and pets came in contact with drilling waste water. In “Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health,” Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald conclude the most common health impacts involve reproduction, including stillborn calves and hairless puppies.
Bamberger and Oswald write that animals provide the best predictions on what may also occur when humans come in contact with the toxins used in gas drilling.
“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 is not an epidemiologic analysis of the health effects of gas drilling, which could proceed to some extent without knowledge of the details of the complex mixtures of toxicants involved. It is also not a study of the health impacts of specific chemical exposures related to gas drilling, since the necessary information cannot be obtained due to the lack of testing, lack of full disclosure of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) names and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers of the chemicals used, and the industry’s use of nondisclosure agreements.”
“…our study illustrates not only several possible links between gas drilling and negativehealth effects, but also the difficulties associated with conducting careful studiesof such a link.”