Health Risks

There are many health risks associated with natural gas and fossil fuel infrastructure that are under the radar as far as regulators are concerned.  Health care professionals are raising awareness of these risks and working to bring reform to the way FERC and other regulators consider projects for approval.

Particulate emissions mostly occur at points in a pipeline system where natural gas is burned. This is at compressor stations that burn natural gas to run turbines, or at associated gas-fired electric generation plants.

Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that are emitted both by un-burned natural gas (through leaks and blow-down facilities) and in smaller amounts when gas is burned to power turbines.

The two lectures below address specific health effects of both.

Mass Health Care Providers Against Fracked Gas

Mass Health Care Providers Against Fracked Gas FaceBook page
Massachusetts health providers concerned about the health risks associated with gas pipeline infrastructure and with climate change.

Fourth Edition, November 17, 2016
Concerned Health Professionals of NY
– Affiliate of Physicians for Social Responsibility

SWP-EHP Health Effect of Gas Infrastructure

On January 30, 2016, we were fortunate to have a team from Environmental Health Project (EHP) make a presentation on the Health Effects of Gas Infrastructure at Frontier High School in Deerfield, MA. EHP were the researchers behind the Minisink Compressor Station health study (linked below), one of the few studies of actual community health affects of a compressor station operating in town. Their presentation lends invaluable statistical medical information for people to speak to their own Board of Health in any town affected by pipelines, compressor stations, or gas-powered energy plants.

Some voiced interest in obtaining a DVD of the presentation. Please contact the station to see if that’s something they can provide.

Use the information from this study:
The EHP team recommended that local activists bring the information from this presentation to elected officials and to use in comments on dockets for projects being considered for approval.

Get “baseline” tests before construction begins:
They also recommend conducting “baseline” tests, getting samples of local conditions before any infrastructure is built, to help build a case for any damages to environment, health and safety if the infrastructure is later built and operational.
» Check out the Speck Monitors reviewed in the presentation

The question was raised of whether the costs of testing (estimated in the presentation to be as low as $5,000 to more expensive for more extentive tests), should be required to be paid by the pipeline company. This request should be brought up on the FERC docket as a conditional demand of approval of the pipeline.

» Read more and view slides and other presentation materials

Contact EHP:
EHP is available in New Haven for those interested in following up. It’s best to contact Celia Lewis directly: