With concerns rising over gas drilling in a Pennsylvania rock formation, a nonprofit has stepped up to see if there are any health risks as a result of the work.
CBS News reported today that the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project has opened an office in western Pennsylvania to study the effects that gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formations may have on public health. People in the community worry that, because they live near the drilling sites, their health is at risk.
The project already has several paid staffers, including a nurse who will do house calls in Washington county for citizens who believe they are sick because of the drilling. The nurse will also provide referrals, help patients with the healthcare system, and consult with environmental health specialists. The organization's director, Raina Rippel, said all of the services are free of charge.
Rippel told CBS News that the Environmental Health Project has met with public health officials, and will continue to work with them to try and find a definitive answer. As of now, it is not entirely clear that gas drilling is the reason people are getting sick. Rippel admitted that the sicknesses seen could have been caused by pollutants from other industries. Coal mines and oil wells have been identified as possible culprits of methane gas appearing in drinking water wells.
You can read more about this story on CBS News' website.