Scientists are saying that it is not clear whether pollutants from gas wells are negatively impacting residents in the areas in which drilling is taking place. Thus far, the evidence presented in the small town of Dish, Texas is not offering enough proof for scientists to believe that the gas wells are polluting the nearby areas.
The 225 residents in Dish blame the chemicals used in gas production for health problems that currently exist in the area.
Gas wells were not always a part of the community. Prior to the natural gas drilling, the land was serene, quiet and clean. “Fracking” has turned the small town into a target drilling area.
According to an article published in the National Public Radio, the town spent $15,000 on an air quality study several years ago. It found elevated levels of several chemicals including benzene.
Since then, energy companies have made significant changes on their air monitoring efforts and scientists are standing firm in their belief that these sicknesses are not specifically related to the shale gas drilling.
Tom La Point, a toxicologist at the University of North Texas, says test results can be confusing due to modern equipment being able to detect chemicals at levels lower than normal. “I’ve had people get quite upset saying we can measure benzene,” he says. “Well, yes we can measure benzene. But the concentrations are below the effect level. And that really means something. It really does.”
The residents of Dish will continue to make assumptions regarding the effects of shale drilling until they have answers. But, until some solid evidence is retrieved and more scientific studies are completed, the shale drilling will press on.