Public Health and Toxics
There are a variety of chemicals used during the drilling and production phases of oil and gas; and different types of wastes are produced throughout the development process.
The purpose of the Oil & Gas Accountability Project's Public Health and Toxics Program is to help communities and citizens better understand and protect themselves from the health and environmental impacts associated with toxic oil and gas chemicals and wastes.
Public Health and Toxics Issues
- HYDRAULIC FRACTURING. This often involves the injection of known toxic chemicals into or close to drinking water supplies
- CHEMICAL DISCLOSURE. Increasingly, landowners and residents of oil and gas field communities are reporting health impacts that they believe are linked to environmental toxics associated with the oil and gas development activities in their area. These reports include incidents of: asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, autoimmune diseases, liver failure, cancer and other ailments such as headaches, nausea, and sleeplessness.
- PITS. Contamination of groundwater, soil and air may result from the storage and disposal of oil and gas wastes in unlined and lined pits.
- OIL AND GAS POLLUTION. There are many chemicals used and waste produced throughout the various stages of oil and gas development. These chemicals and wastes can contaminate air, water and soil.
- AIR POLLUTION. Oil and gas development contributes to air pollution problems such as increased low-level ozone (smog), toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide, and localized zones of airborne hydrocarbons like VOCs and PAHs.
- HYDROGEN SULFIDE. This is a particularly toxic gas that is sometimes associated with oil and gas development. Citizens from many states and Alberta, Canada have experienced health problems from exposure to this gas.
- HEALTH IMPACTS. More and more, people are speaking up about health problems that seem to be related to oil and gas pollution.
- NOISE. More than merely annoying, the noise from oil and gas can affect people's health and drive them from their homes.
- OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY EXEMPTIONS. The oil and gas industry enjoys exemptions from some of the major federal pollution laws, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- PATHWAYS AND SOURCES OF CONTAMINATION. There are a number of ways that contaminants from oil and gas operations can enter the environment..
- 2010 People's Oil and Gas Summit - Toxics in Our Communities drew together people from across North America to talk about public health and toxics issues related to oil and gas development.
For more information:
- Oil and Gas Pollution: Contaminants associated with the various stages of oil and gas development
- Think Again: Air pollution from oil and gas facilities
- Pits: Contamination and regulation issues
- Fracking: a brief look at the issues
Related OGAP Web Pages
- COLORADO Oil and Gas Health and Toxics Issues
- NEW MEXICO Oil and Gas Health and Toxics Issues
- TEXAS Oil and Gas Health and Toxics Issues
- U.S. Oil and Gas Health And Toxics: In the News
- Oil and Gas Pollution
- Chemicals used during oil and gas drilling and production in Colorado
- Oil and gas industry information on toxic chemicals during drilling and production
- Oil and Gas Waste Disposal
Other Web Sites
Orion Magazine November/December 2006 feature on "Voices from the Gas Fields" of Colorado. This article features stories of the impacts being felt by residents in Garfield County, Colorado. There are also audio and video clips with additional stories, and information on issues related to oil and gas and health.