30 May 2012

Around the World in 80+ min with HIA in the Energy Sector - Session II, Presentation 4

Shale Gas and Health: basics

Force sand and water into gas well and fracture the shale layer to enable the gas to be released.

Well and well heads, compression stations and roads it is a very visible aspect of the landscape.

Shale gas is found in many parts of the world.

Many linked to labour force coming in.

  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Crime and violence
  • Change in local community networks and intact ions
  • STIs and respiratory diseases
  • Pressure on health services
  • Income and employment
  • Traffic related injuries and deaths
  • Noise and dust
  • Air pollution from flaring
 

Similar to other oil and gas health impacts.

 

What is different about Shale Gas?

  • Water contamination with methane - into drinking water but still debate about where this methane is coming from and how much of it there is
  • Water contamination with fracking chemicals - acids, formaldehyde, radioactive compounds, heavy metals; may contaminate drinking water
  • Disposal of contaminated water - truck the water out and dump the water, often reused until the water is saturated with chemicals, sometimes this is injected back into the week but this may cause an increase in earthquakes
  • Damage to water wells from the vibration making material fall into the well making it undrinkable
Where are we now?

  • Full or partial moratorium until more is known
  • More research is being commissioned by governments
  • More calls for disclosure of details of cracking process and chemicals used