A 2012 nonscientific, anecdotal, nonpeer-reviewed research paper (“Impacts of Drilling on Human and Animal Health”), published by Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine researchers Michelle Bamberger, PhD and Robert Oswald, PhD, calls for banning all natural gas drilling until pre-drilling and post-drilling (independent) scientific tests are created to assure that serious damage to human and animal health is not already occurring. The researchers’ conclusions come following their admittedly nonscientific, but thorough, research on cases of deaths in animals (mostly cows) and serious sicknesses (in unnamed humans) in natural-gas drill regions ranging from Colorado, to Lousiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York where deep drilling and hydrofracturing have raised widespread concerns about the rapidly developing industry. The authors say that industry nondisclosure of chemicals used in hydrofracking (many of them highly toxic to humans and animals) has made science-based research impossible, and the chemicals have entered the environment, probably causing premature deaths and stillborns among cattle and severe illnesses among humans living in drill areas. This is the first paper that we have seen originating from a nationally acclaimed university (animal) science department that attempts to establish the beginnings of science-based analysis on known cases involving the, admittedly anecdotal, accounts of families who live in intensely developed areas where natural-gas drilling is underway. The researchers demand immediate cessation of drilling (including hydrofracking) until federal and state scientific monitoring standards are developed and in place, with adequately large enforcement staffs in operation. Though anecdotal, their study should be read by state and federal public-health agency administrators, political leaders, and the public. Hopefully it can cause responsible leaders to call for peer-reviewed, epidemiologic research on the effects of gas drilling on animals and humans in heavy drill regions of the U.S., particularly Pennsylvania. A science-based regulatory framework recommended in their paper must be put in place, but it must be based on a peer-reviewed foundation of epidemiologic research. State severance taxes to fund the regulatory science and its enforcement are a common sense beginning. http://slopefarms.com/blog/2012/01/09/hydrofracking-impact-on-the-health-of-livestock-and-humans-new-study-from-two-cornell-researchers.
In fact, there has been science-based epidemiologic research done (in the heavy-drill areas of Texas) on this new area of science, though the Cornell researchers do not seem to be aware of it. The Texas studies show no epidemiologic effects of drilling on humans or animals. The DrillingAhead.com drilling-industry link below makes a strong point: The Cornell study “is not epidemiologic research” by any stretch. The comments are worth reading.