Advocacy groups and residents have linked a variety of health concerns to gas and oil drilling for over a decade. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a process that uses water, sand, and chemical jets to break through underground gas and oil deposits, draws particular interest. For years, research has done an inadequate job of determining the public health and environmental impacts of natural gas extraction that occurs near residential communities.
Few studies have confirmed health claims that methane and other toxic chemicals exist in the drinking water a kilometer away from well sites. Restricted case studies and surveys have suggested that health problems occur at higher rates in people residing close to gas wells. Now, a more comprehensive analysis of a two-year survey project found increases in multiple health symptoms, especially upper respiratory and skin conditions, among residents who live near natural gas drilling operations.
Findings Target Fracking
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection verified that 95 percent of the survey area’s 624 active natural gas wells were producing gas from the huge Marcellus Shale through fracking. Yale researchers surveyed 492 random residents from 180 homes that had ground-fed water wells in rural southwestern Pennsylvania while substantial natural gas drilling was underway. The investigators compared the proximity of homes to extraction sites with the self-reported frequency of respiratory, skin, cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal symptoms during the previous year.
Residents whose homes were within 0.62 miles of gas wells reported up to double the health problem rate per person as those living 1.24 miles or more away from drilling sites. They found that certain health symptoms occurred more often among the residents who lived closer to the wells. Among respondents living within the close distance, 39 percent reported having upper respiratory symptoms including nasal allergies, sinus difficulties, sore throats, nosebleeds, and itchy eyes while 13 percent had suffered from skin problems such as irritation, itching, burning, rashes, and hair loss.
Those living within the farther distance from extraction activities reported much fewer symptoms. Some 18 percent indicated that they had experienced upper respiratory challenges. Only six percent acknowledged having skin conditions. This study didn’t find significant increases in grouped cardiovascular, neurological, and gastrointestinal symptoms among people living closest to the wells. The other adverse health effects held, even after the researchers adjusted for age, gender, educational ranking, smoking habits, household pet status, and environmental risk factor awareness. Interviewers didn’t reference natural gas wells while they were conducting their residential surveys.
Restricted water-hazard ponds store toxic wastewater that fracking creates. The investigators believe that chemicals evaporating from those danger zones or leaking into community drinking supplies may have affected residents’ health adversely. Trucks hauling gas and oil travel by the thousands through Pennsylvania every day. The researchers contend that their diesel fumes might also have contributed to subjects’ symptoms.
They concluded that natural gas drilling might increase health risks among people whose houses are close to wells. Lead author Peter Rabinowitzan notes that anyone located under 0.62 miles from gas extraction activity should be aware of possible health concerns and monitor all household members for symptoms. Their evidence also highlights the necessity for precautions in drilling areas and additional research into natural gas production’s health and environmental consequences.
Nasal Allergy Remedies
Singulair(Montelukast Sodium), a leukotriene inhibitor, treats multiple lung disorders including seasonal and year-round allergies. Your body releases leukotrienes in an immune response to common allergens that you inhale while breathing. Unfortunately, these chemicals can cause lung inflammation and constrict your air passages. But Singulair blocks leukotrienes and prevents them from binding to reduce the swelling in your lungs and keep your airways open so you can breathe easier.
Your diet can affect your nasal allergy symptoms. Try these doctor-recommended tips to avoid foods and beverages that might worsen your condition and enjoy ones that can help alleviate difficulties.
Potentially harmful options include:
Food allergens. If you’re allergic to peanuts, strawberries, or other foods, they may cause nasal symptoms such as congestion.
Vegetables and fruits. Some produce contain proteins similar to pollens. If you have a ragweed allergy, nasal symptoms may occur when you eat tomatoes or melons. Celery or peaches may trigger symptoms if you suffer from grass allergies.
Alcohol. Drinking alcoholic beverages, especially beer and wine, might lead to nasal congestion.
Possibly helpful choices include:
Warm fluids. Hot tea, chicken soup, and other warm liquids will break up the congestion, so coughing up mucus is easier.
Fish. Studies show that the omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel, salmon, and tuna may reduce your chances of allergies developing.
Honey. A sweet, golden spoonful of honey remains a popular home remedy for allergies.
Relief for Itchy, Dry Skin
Hydrocortisone prescription treatments help clear up itchy rashes. For dry skin, try over-the-counter Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil. They contain essential fatty acids to help hydrate your skin and protect it from the environment’s damaging effects. After bathing, showering, and hand washing with a mild soap, apply a glycerin-based moisturizer. By encouraging your skin to retain moisture, it will help prevent dryness from recurring.