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Oil and Gas Production Health Concerns In SWPA

Results of University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health scientists studies exploring health impacts of human exposure to environmental risk factors, including unconventional natural gas development activities, in an eight-county region in Southwest Pennsylvania.

Advocates Guide to Effective Participation in Environmental Permit for Petrochemical Facilities

Compared to some other types of petrochemical facilities, emissions directly from plastic resin manufacturing units can seem relatively low, often less than 100 tons per year for individual criteria pollutants. But these units are typically co-located within a petrochemical complex that includes many larger sources of emissions that support the plastic resin manufacturing process. For instance, most complexes will include boilers and combustion turbines, i.e., gas-fired power plants, that provide heat, steam, and power to the entire complex. It is therefore difficult to ascertain the exact level of emissions that a given unit, say a polyethylene unit, might ultimately emit, but these complexes can be massive sources of emissions. For instance, Formosa’s proposed St. James Parish complex, which would include polyethylene and polypropylene units in addition to cracking and other units, would emit 4,500 tons of carbon monoxide, 2,000 tons of VOCs, and 1,200 tons of nitrogen oxides, in addition to many other pollutants.34 The facility would also emit a whopping 10.8 million tons of greenhouse gas, the equivalent of 25 new natural gas-fired power plants.35

Impacts of Air Pollution Across the Life Course – Evidence Highlight Note

The evidence that air pollution harms our health throughout our lives, from conception to old age, was summarised in the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) report Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, in 2016(2) Since this time the evidence has continued to accumulate. This new evidence summary builds on the RCP report by addressing the impacts of air pollution across the life course, reviewing key studies published in the interim period on the links between air pollution and ill health. The note is divided into sections focusing on different stages of life, including evidence regarding the impact of air pollution from pre-foetal development until early adulthood. It aims to summarise key evidence, drawing on recent authoritative academic reviews and research studies, with an emphasis on those carried out in the United Kingdom, London, or cities with similar air pollution climates.

Pennsylvania’s Looming Climate Cost Crisis

Hotter temperatures, increased rainfall — climate costs are mounting in PA study by Center for Climate Integrity

The mounting impacts of climate change are taking a toll on Pennsylvania’s public infrastructure, and local governments will need to make significant investments to ensure their communities are resilient in the face of these threats.

This study is the first-ever attempt to calculate the true costs of the climate crisis on municipal governments across Pennsylvania.

Poor air quality found to affect mental health in many ways – University of Oxford

Led by Professor Kam Bhui at the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry, researchers in the UKRI-funded BioAirNet programme, analysed existing studies looking at the effects of both indoor and outdoor air pollution across the life course, from birth and pregnancy, to adolescence and adulthood.

They found evidence that exposure to air pollutants may lead to depression, anxiety, psychoses, and perhaps even neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia. There were also indications that children and adolescents might be exposed to air pollution at critical stages in their mental development making them at risk of the most severe impact and significant future mental health problems.

Additional risk factors included poor housing, over-crowding, poverty, a lack of green spaces as well as individual social and psychological vulnerabilities, such as lack of access to support, carers or safe spaces.

Professor Bhui said: ‘Air pollution and mental health are both major challenges that the world must grapple with now and for years to come. This makes this area of research a vital public health priority.

‘Our review shows that there is emerging evidence of links between poor air quality and poor mental health, as well as links to specific mental disorders.

‘In particular, polluting air particles, including bioaerosols, have been implicated. Particulate matter forms part of a complex set of environmental risk factors including geography, deprivation, biology and individual vulnerabilities.

‘We need more research to understand these webs of causation and to investigate a number of other critical knowledge gaps such as the mechanisms by which particles matter and bioaerosols may cause and worsen health conditions. There is less research on indoor air quality and how it affects health, and little on bioaerosols specifically.

‘We need better ways to measure exposure to pollution and understand how climate change affects air pollution. We also call for more longitudinal studies to understand the effects on children and young people as they grow.’

Poor air quality has already been associated with poorer physical health and the development of diseases including some types of cancer, but so far little attention has been given to how air pollutants may affect mental health too.

Professor Bhui adds: ‘Modifying exposure to poor air quality indoors and outdoors could reduce levels of poor health in general.

‘But, given the high levels of serious mental illness in places where air pollution is greatest, in poorer and urban areas especially, and the links between, for example, cancer and serious mental illness, there may be common causes and risk factors that need to be understood and addressed.’

The full paper, ‘Air quality and mental health: evidence, challenges and future directions’, can be read in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Comparison of Wildfire Smoke Estimation Methods and Associations with Cardiopulmonary-Related Hospital Admissions

Climate forecasts predict an increase in frequency and intensity of wildfires. Associations between health outcomes and population exposure to smoke from Washington 2012 wildfires were compared using surface monitors, chemical-weather models, and a novel method blending three exposure information sources.

Quantifying the Health Benefits of Face Masks and Respirators to Mitigate Exposure to Severe Air Pollution

Familiarity with the use of face coverings to reduce the risk of respiratory disease has increased during the coronavirus pandemic; however, recommendations for their use outside of the pandemic remains limited. Here, we develop a modeling framework to quantify the potential health benefits of wearing a face covering or respirator to mitigate exposure to particulate air pollution. This framework accounts for the wide range of available face coverings and respirators, fit factors and efficacy, air pollution characteristics, and exposure-response data.

Study Documents Huge Health Impacts of “Natural” Gas Pollution

No matter what the fossil fuel industry claims in its advertising, “natural” gas is anything but “clean.” A new study shows that pollution from oil and gas is a shockingly large contributor to asthma, respiratory disease and other health harms.

Researchers at Boston University and University of North Carolina found that nitrogen oxide, fine particulate matter and ozone pollution from oil and gas does an immense amount of damage. In 2016 alone, it contributed to:

  • 7,500 deaths
  • 410,000 asthma attacks
  • 2,200 new cases of childhood asthma
  • $77 billion in annual additional costs to the healthcare system
Potential Health Effects Due to Inhalation of Air Pollutants

There is a rapidly expanding body of scientific evidence linking air pollution and health concerns. This report is aimed at providing a summary of research about the most common air pollutants and should not be considered a comprehensive list of all toxic exposures. This chart may not include the health effects of high-level exposures. All the information is from Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxProfiles.

Regardless of What They Say, Green Hydrogen Will Be Cleaner, Cheaper, and It’s Around The Corner

“The worry is that, along the way, we are going to waste huge amounts of money on the wrong use cases for hydrogen and the wrong infrastructure in the wrong places. Worse than wasting money, we will also be wasting time – and that is the one thing we don’t have.”

—Michael Liebreich

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