Burning Fossil Fuels Affects Your Health and the Economy

As I write this report, California is experiencing the worst fires in decades.  My aunt, who is a veteran Navy nurse in Yountville, has evacuated from the Veterans Home because of the smoke and risk. The weather extremes that brought drought and then heavy rains to the state are behind this disaster.  Many people who live in the fire areas or are fighting the fires may have major health issues and possibly die from breathing the smoke and other pollutants that are being released.

We are subjected every day to these same pollutants as we continue to burn coal, oil and shale gas to power our homes and vehicles.  In Pennsylvania, we now sit at the center of the worst environmental disaster since the early 20th century when most of the forests had been clear cut.  The coal industry and now the gas industry resist any efforts to bring Clean Energy Options to the state.  They downplay any risks that are known to impact our air and water. While shale gas is somewhat cleaner to burn than coal, it takes huge amounts of water and chemicals to extract from the ground and it releases methane, which is much worse for climate change.

Many studies have now documented the health risks of shale gas – increased incidences of birth defects or miscarriages, asthma, heart attacks, skin disorders and digestive problems.   Southwest Pennsylvania has the highest and longest record of these health risks – both from coal and natural gas.  But our region is now surrounded by drilling operations, pipelines, gas-fired power plants, coal burning and ash pits.

Our legislators continue to resist and even roll back regulations and testing that help protect our communities.   It’s up to every citizen to find out what is happening and to insist on more oversight, accountability and even a moratorium. It’s not just your homes but the places you hike, fish, hunt or visit parks that are being contaminated.

Find out more about how fossil fuels affect our health and economy by just reading these documents.  For more articles, check out Health Risks of Fossil Fuels Resource List.  Or do your own search.

Walter Brash… Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit. Greeley & Stone, 2016.  (Bloomsburg professor who just passed away.)

John Hopkins University…Fracking Linked to Asthma Attacks, 2016.    Also appears in Natural Awakenings magazine, Dec. 2016

Swarthmore College…Health Risks (Shale Gas), 2017.  (Additional info on this site.)

Yale University…Fracking Linked to Cancer-Causing Chemicals, New YSPH Study Finds, 2016. Published in Science of the Total Environment.

See also:
Clean Air Council…Dirty Energy.
League of Women Voters (PA)…The Straight Scoop on Drilling.
Responsible Drilling Alliance (RDA)
Sierra Club…Natural Gas