Fracking: Texas is protecting industry NOT residents’ health.

Fracking: Texas is protecting industry NOT residents’ health.

“…if you’re anti-oil and gas, you’re anti-Texas,” declared Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, a Republican from Central Texas.  Sound familiar.  This false choice deliberately throws out any discussion of the facts. An eight month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, InsideClimate, and The Weather Channel revealed a State far more interested in protecting industry over the health of its citizens.  The investigations makes you think you are reading about a third world country with a dictator not the United States. Among the findings: Most of the oil and gas industry facilities are under no over site by the state or federal government. They are not required to submit their emissions to the state.  They are not required to disclose the chemicals used. People living close to oil and gas development — consistently report the same symptoms: nausea, nosebleeds, headaches, body rashes and respiratory problems. Health experts agree with Isobel Simpson, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California, Irvine, who studies air pollution around the world:  “If you have pockets of communities with the same symptoms downwind of similar sources, then there is a body of evidence.” But since there is no reliable air monitoring data the residents have little evidence to prove harm. Fracking companies get away with no government oversite because they were explicitly exempted from the Safe Water Drinking Act (by a piece of energy legislation passed by Congress called the Energy Policy Act of 2005). This exemption allows gas companies to inject unknown and/or toxic materials directly into, below, or adjacent to underground sources of drinking water without reporting the chemicals or the quantities of these chemicals...

* yourhoustonnews.com * Courier * News Radiation contamination in two Montgomery County water systems

By James Ridgway Jr The Courier of Montgomery County Two county water systems contaminated with radiation Houston, TX–Two public drinking water systems in Montgomery County have been reported as being contaminated with radiation. Long-term exposure to the radionuclide contaminants within the water has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency The Hulon Lakes Subdivision and Vista Verde Water Systems, both near Lake Conroe, have exceeded the Maximum Contaminate Levels (MCL) as regulated by the EPA. Dr. Alicia Diehl, drinking water quality team leader with the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, said radionuclide contamination in drinking water occurs naturally. “(Radiation) comes from all around, the sky, from the surrounding geology. Even if someone avoided drinking any water at all, all of us are exposed to radiation every year from natural sources,” Dr. Diehl said. Elston Johnson, TCEQ manager of the public drinking water section, said in addition to radiation occurring naturally, the radiation levels present in aquifers fluctuates. “The levels can vary from year to year, season to season, decade to decade. That’s the problem with monitoring radioactivity; a lot of factors play into it.” However, even with fluctuating levels of radiation, Hulon Lakes and Vista Verde Water Systems have been cited multiple years in a row for exceeding maximum contaminate levels. Janice Hayes, communications manager with the managing company overseeing Hulon Lakes public water, SouthWest Water Company, said they have only received one call regarding the radionuclide contamination as of their last quarterly notice. “Currently, the one well that is creating the violation is off-line and the pump station associated with...

Hundreds of Midland, Texas residents suing Dow Chemical and three other companies over chromium contamination

By Andrew Dodson | Booth Mid-Michigan The Bay City Times MIDLAND, Texas — Two lawsuits have been filed on behalf of more than 250 West Texas residents against four companies they contend contaminated their water with hexavalent chromium, according to the Associated Press. According to court documents obtained by the Midland Reporter-Telegram, the residents want compensation for past and future medical expenses, diminished property values, emotional distress, cases of wrongful death and other losses. One of the four companies being sued in the lawsuit is Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. Other defendants in the biggest lawsuit, filed by Midland, Texas attorney Brian Carney, are Schlumberger, Schlumberger Technology Corp. and Lear Corp. The second, smaller lawsuit, was filed on behalf of 10 plaintiffs. Dow Spokesman Greg Baldwin said Dow received the complaint Monday and is currently reviewing it. Hexavalent chromium is recognized as a human carcinogen through inhalation. Exposure is known to occur among workers who handle chromate-containing products as well has those who arc weld stainless steel. The chemical compound was found in drinking water in the 1990s in Hinkley, Calif. and was brought to the attention by the involvement of Erin Brockovich. Carney is working in conjunction with Brockovich on the case. In June 2009, the ground water in Midland, Texas, was found to be contaminated with chromium, which also involved Brockovich. Watch the video, here. Read the full report from the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Dow Chemical continues to face scrutiny after acknowledging responsibility for the dioxins and furan released into the Tittabawassee River from the 1930s to the 1970s. The chemical byproducts of combustion are linked to cancer,...
Health Alert: Disease Clusters Spotlight the Need to Protect People from Toxic Chemicals

Health Alert: Disease Clusters Spotlight the Need to Protect People from Toxic Chemicals

NDCA teamed with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to report on 42 disease clusters in 13 states. We intend to complete this pilot project and cover all 50 states and U.S. territories. Read the report. Health Alert: Disease Clusters Spotlight the Need to Protect People from Toxic Chemicals [pdf 1.5MB]      ...
Rare cancers group in Frisco neighborhood

Rare cancers group in Frisco neighborhood

By Jessica Rush, jrush@acnpapers.com Published: Monday, November 15, 2010 Will Steele, 34, of Frisco was diagnosed in February this year with desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT), an aggressive sarcoma (cancer of the soft tissue and/or bone) so rare that the Texas Cancer Registry only reports between three and eight cases a year statewide. And yet, 20-year-old Joffrey Swieczkowski, who lives about a mile away from the Steele family, received a DSRCT cancer diagnosis in September. The coincidences continue. Two local girls in high school also have rare forms of cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma. DSRCT is a combination of both Ewing’s sarcoma and Wilms’ tumor. One of the girls lives in the same neighborhood, Plantation Resort, as the Steele family. Submitted Photo: From left: Joffrey Swieczkowski stands with his older brother, Hudson, and younger brother, Stefan. Joffrey was diagnosed with the same rare form of cancer that Will Steele has, and they live within a mile of each other. Dr. Jon Trent is an associate professor of medicine at MD Anderson’s Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology in Houston. He said both DSRCT and Ewing’s are very rare diseases. There are only a few hundred cases in the United States every year. “Where there are four rare cancers in a small area, you could be concerned about an environmental exposure,” Trent said. “It certainly could be due to really bad luck and chance, but it’s highly unlikely.” It is very difficult to find out what causes rare cancers, because there are not enough cases to study, he said. “Presumably, there is some kind of genetic event, whether that is due to...

Air pollutant tied to birth defect

Study shows women who live in areas with high levels of benzene are most affected By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle Oct. 27, 2010 Women who live in Texas neighborhoods with higher levels of benzene, a pollutant from refineries and tailpipes, are more likely to have babies with a serious neurological defect, according to a new study. Scientists have long known that the highly toxic chemical can cause cancer and damage the immune system. But the new study links benzene to a birth defect for the first time and adds to the growing body of evidence showing that air pollution can harm a fetus, the authors said. A team of researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health and Texas Department of State Health Services conducted the study, which appeared in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The study suggested that pregnant women exposed to the highest concentrations of benzene had two times greater risk for their children to be born with spina bifida — a condition in which a piece of the spinal cord protrudes from the spinal column. People with spina bifida may have paralysis of all or part of the lower body. They also may have water on the brain, learning disabilities and depression. Benzene can pass from mother to fetus through the placenta, possibly causing damage to DNA material. The defects occur during the first month of pregnancy. “Spina bifida is a relatively rare birth defect, and though our study may show greater risk if one lives in an area with high levels of benzene, the absolute risk is still very small,” said...