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The Marcellus Shale and Public Health

Button, Ryan Douglas (2010) The Marcellus Shale and Public Health. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Marcellus Shale formation is being harvested for its methane by gas drilling companies in the state of Pennsylvania. The gas extraction method being used is hydraulic fracturing. This operation has public health significance because the chemicals injected beneath the earth's surface during the hydraulic fracturing process are known to have adverse health effects on humans and aquatic life when in their undiluted form. There is much controversy among the communities involved surrounding the use of these chemicals in the Marcellus Shale. Despite communication efforts by government agencies with these affected communities, health concerns continue to run high. A literature review performed in regards to the chemicals found in fracturing fluids and their affects on aquatic life, found eleven chemicals to have adverse affects. A qualitative analysis performed on public comments regarding a proposed EPA assessment on hydraulic fracturing found several common themes. The most prevalent of which were concerns regarding the possibility of hydraulic fracturing affecting water resources and public and environmental health. Themes that emerged from three stakeholder interviews coincided with those found in the public comment analysis. In regards to the issue of hydraulic fracturing and the Marcellus Shale, this paper proposes increased community involvement in government studies, social action methods to help communities achieve the desired change and possible leverage points for interventions to help improve the health of the public and environments involved.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Button, Ryan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSharma, Ravi Krks1946@pitt.eduRKS1946
Committee MemberVolz, Conrad Danielcdv5@pitt.eduCDV5
Committee MemberRicci, Edmund Memricci@pitt.eduEMRICCI
Date: 28 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 April 2010
Approval Date: 28 June 2010
Submission Date: 9 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: aquatic life; Brine Water; Clean Water Act; EPA Assessment; fracking fluid; Hydraulic Fracture; Marcellus Shale; Monongahela; public health; TDS Levels
Other ID:, etd-04092010-122107
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:35
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:39


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