New CU study looks at impact of nearby oil and gas drilling on childhood cancer rates, State Health Department questions study’s conclusion by John Ingold, February 15, 2017, The Denver Post
A new study from University of Colorado researchers finds a possible link between a specific kind of childhood cancer and nearby oil and gas activity, but the state Health Department and others are challenging the conclusion. [Of course they are. As in Alberta, Health Departments appear disinterested in protecting the public from oil and gas and appear busy covering-up the truth to protect corporate profits]
The study is the latest attempt to answer an increasingly important question in Colorado: Does living near an oil and gas well impact your health?
CU School of Public Health professor Lisa McKenzie and five colleagues examined data from a state registry of cancer cases. They concluded that people ages 5-24 who were diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia were more likely to live in areas with a high concentration of oil and gas activity.
“It’s important that more studies be conducted to understand why,” McKenzie said.
But Dr. Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the study’s conclusion isn’t convincingly reached. He cited limitations in the study’s design and data analysis and said the possible link between childhood cancer and high-concentration oil and gas development hinges on just 16 cases.
“I don’t think the study supports the conclusion that they made,” he said.
The study, which McKenzie said was peer-reviewed, was published online Wednesday in the multidisciplinary journal PLOS ONE. The research was funded by the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
The fight over oil and gas development and public health has long been contentious, and McKenzie, whose doctorate is in environmental chemistry, has faced criticism before.
In a 2014, she and colleagues published a study finding a possible connection between congenital heart defects and proximity to an oil and gas well. Wolk raised similar criticisms of that study, saying that readers “could easily be misled to become overly concerned.”
Oil and gas advocates also have criticized McKenzie’s research. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association put out a statement Wednesday saying that, while it would review McKenzie’s data, “researchers shouldn’t be in the game of scaring people.” Of the new study, Tracee Bentley, the executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council, said: “This is more of the same and an attempt to undermine energy development and jobs in Colorado.” [It’s OK poison kids for profit?]
McKenzie denied she is trying to push an agenda, while acknowledging that the study has limitations that mean it falls short of proving a link. She said she provided CDPHE officials with a copy of her study before publication and tried to address their concerns in the final manuscript.
“We did the best study we could with the data that the Colorado Health Department was able to provide to us,” she said.
For the study, McKenzie and colleagues looked at 743 cases of cancer reported between 2001 and 2013 in children and young adults living in rural areas of Colorado. They compared those numbers to data on active oil and gas wells throughout the state.
The researchers specifically looked at cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia — a cancer that starts in bone marrow — and at cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They then weighed the number of those cases reported in high-density and low-density oil and gas areas against the numbers of other kinds of cancer reported in those areas.
While the researchers found no link between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and oil and gas development, they did find a statistically significant correlation between oil and gas and acute lymphocytic leukemia in people ages 5-24. McKenzie said pollutants associated with oil and gas activity — such as benzene — are known to potentially cause cancer.
“That’s why we did the study,” she said. “So, I don’t think we were surprised by this result.”
Wolk, though, said the study didn’t adequately account for other potential causes of cancer and said it also didn’t look at neighborhood turnover or length of exposure to the pollutants. Previous CDPHE studies have found benzene levels in neighborhoods near oil and gas developments within the accepted ranges, he said. Wolk said the new research ultimately found 16 cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia in areas of high-density oil and gas development during the study period.
Still, he said, the issue is important to explore further. He said CDPHE hopes to publish a summary of research on the health impacts of oil and gas development in the coming weeks. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Two new peer-reviewed studies published after Florida significantly increases toxic chemicals allowed dumped in waterways: 1) Chemicals used in fracking, other gas, oil operations increase risk of miscarriages, reduced male fertility, prostate cancer, birth defects, preterm birth by disrupting hormones; 2) Lit review shows increased risk of negative reproductive effects from exposure to fracking, other oil, gas extraction activities, especially for miscarriages, reduced semen quality, prostate cancer, birth defects, preterm birth
Elevated Cancer risks surround oil & gas drilling. Fracking is bad for your health says Israel Health Ministry official; Frac flowback stage causes greatest air pollution; WORLD-WIDE STUDY: One in three strokes caused by air pollution
New Study: Alberta’s tar sands leading source of air pollution in North America, Tens of thousands of people living within reach breathing elevated levels of fine particles linked in previous studies to lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes
New Study Confirms Fracking Wastewater Is Cancer-Causing. “Barium and Strontium were elevated in frac flowback water exposed cells.” Encana and Alberta government testing showed barium & strontium doubled in Ernst’s water after Encana’s illegal aquifer fracing
Pennsylvania Study Links Fracking to Health Hazards in Fetuses, Infants, Young Children: 35.1% more cancer in children ages zero to four in heavily frac’d counties. Compare to AER’s belittling, dismissive health study in the Lochend
Frac Captured State, Frac Captured Regulator, Frac Captured Courts? Colorado Supreme Court Strips Constitutional Right To Enact Local Fracking Bans: “It is beyond comprehension that the Colorado Supreme Court still fails to recognize the rights of people to live in a safe and healthy environment”
Albertans still don’t know what toxic oilfield chemicals their children are breathing. When will companies be ordered to fully disclose all chemicals, including trade secrets, before racing toxic truck loads through school zones, by hospitals, where children play, and before injected, spilled, dumped, spread on foodlands, flared, vented, spewed from endless facilities?
“Rates of childhood leukemia and lymphoma in Flower Mound are significantly higher than expected,” University of Texas gas-drilling study re-examines link between fracking and Flower Mound’s ‘cancer cluster’
Santos CBM in NSW Australia contaminates aquifer with uranium at 20 times the safe drinking water levels; Regulator does not test for thorium, radon and radium! Thorium and radon are known to cause lung cancer
Does it get any more terrifying than this? Encana dumping frac water wars on Canadian pensioners? Encana sells troubled Colorado assets for nearly $1 Billion US to entity 95% owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Sounds like Alberta (Again)! Utah energy boomtown turns on midwife who raised concerns over apparent spike in infant deaths: “Could the deaths be tied to the oil industry, the region’s economic powerhouse?”
Study, rural Colorado: Positive association observed between greater density, proximity of natural gas wells within 10-mile radius of maternal residence and prevalence of congenital heart defects and possibly neural tube defects by Lisa M. McKenzie et al, Accepted and Advance Publication January 28, 2014, Environmental Health Perspectives; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306722
This study suggests a positive association between greater density and proximity of natural gas wells within a 10-mile radius of maternal residence and greater prevalence of [congenital heart defects] and possibly [neural tube defects], but not oral clefts, preterm birth, or reduced fetal growth. … Recent data indicate that exposure to [natural gas development] activities is increasingly common. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission estimates that 26% of the more than 47,000 oil and gas wells in Colorado are located within 150 to 1000 feet of a home or other type of building intended for human occupancy (COGCC 2012). [Emphasis added]
Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in ground and surface water at fracking sites, Peer reviewed study of fracking sites in Garfield County Colorado finds chemicals linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer
Alberta Health Services to pay executive bonuses, says work ‘already done’ but refused to address concerns about serious negative health impacts caused by oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing
Human Health Risk Assessment of Air Emissions from Development of Unconventional Natural Gas Resources by Lisa M. McKenzie et al, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, March 19, 2012.
Results: Residents living ≤ ½ mile from wells are at greater risk for health effects from NGD than are residents living > ½ mile from wells. Subchronic exposures to air pollutants during well completion activities present the greatest potential for health effects. The subchronic non-cancer hazard index (HI) of 5 for residents ≤ ½ mile from wells was driven primarily by exposure to trimethylbenzenes, xylenes, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Chronic HIs were 1 and 0.4. for residents ≤ ½ mile from wells and > ½ mile from wells, respectively. Cumulative cancer risks were 10 in a million and 6 in a million for residents living ≤ ½ mile and > ½ mile from wells, respectively, with benzene as the major contributor to the risk.
Slide from Ernst presentations