Friday, April 27, 2012

A Link Between Heavy Drilling and Illness? Doctors Search for Solid Answers

Edna Moten says nearby gas drilling has pol­luted her water and air.

Doctors in heav­ily drilled areas across Penn­syl­va­nia are start­ing to see more patients who report symp­toms they think might be related to gas activ­ity.  But with all the talk about health con­cerns and Mar­cel­lus Shale, what are the links between the two? And where does a doc­tor turn for answers? For this story, we spoke to sev­eral doc­tors who expressed frus­tra­tion with try­ing to treat sus­pected shale related health impacts. This is the story of one such doctor’s quest for solid infor­ma­tion on how to help her patients.

The Plas­tic Sur­geon Who Makes Housecalls

Wash­ing­ton County’s vil­lage of Rae has only about 12 houses, and it’s hard to find on google maps. This is the heart of Pennsylvania’s shale coun­try. The first Mar­cel­lus well was drilled in Wash­ing­ton County back in 2004, and today, there are 342 active gas wells reg­is­tered with the state Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion. Rae is sur­rounded by nat­ural gas wells. Seven are within less than a mile.                                                                                                           Read More: