A doctor for every gland in the body?

Exploring the endocrine activity of air pollutants associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction

Authors: Ashley L. Bolden, Kim Schultz, Katherine E. Pelch and Carol F. Kwiatkowski

Reference: Environmental Health, 17:26, 2018 — https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-018-0368-z

Manuscript Received: 4 September 2017; Accepted: 20 February 2018; Published: 21 March 2018

Background

In the last decade unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction has rapidly proliferated throughout the United States (US) and the world. This occurred largely because of the development of directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing which allows access to fossil fuels from geologic formations that were previously not cost effective to pursue. This process is known to use greater than 1,000 chemicals such as solvents, surfactants, detergents, and biocides. In addition, a complex mixture of chemicals, including heavy metals, naturally-occurring radioactive chemicals, and organic compounds are released from the formations and can enter air and water. Compounds associated with UOG activity have been linked to adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes in humans and laboratory animal models, which is possibly due to the presence of endocrine active chemicals.

Methods

Using systematic methods, electronic searches of PubMed and Web of Science were conducted to identify studies that measured chemicals in air near sites of UOG activity. Records were screened by title and abstract, relevant articles then underwent full text review, and data were extracted from the studies. A list of chemicals detected near UOG sites was generated. Then, the potential endocrine activity of the most frequently detected chemicals was explored via searches of literature from PubMed.

Results

Evaluation of 48 studies that sampled air near sites of UOG activity identified 106 chemicals detected in two or more studies. Ethane, benzene and n-pentane were the top three most frequently detected. Twenty-one chemicals have been shown to have endocrine activity including estrogenic and androgenic activity and the ability to alter steroidogenesis. Literature also suggested that some of the air pollutants may affect reproduction, development, and neurophysiological function, all endpoints which can be modulated by hormones. These chemicals included aromatics (i.e., benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and mercury.

Conclusion

These results provide a basis for prioritizing future primary studies regarding the endocrine disrupting properties of UOG air pollutants, including exposure research in wildlife and humans. Further, we recommend systematic reviews of the health impacts of exposure to specific chemicals, and comprehensive environmental sampling of a broader array of chemicals.

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Atmospheric methane dramatically increacing

Church with $2K in gas driller’s stock wins methane vote

From an Article by Michael Rubinkam, Washington Post, May 17, 2018

Associated Press — A church with a minuscule stake in Range Resources has won shareholder approval of a resolution to force Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas driller to produce a report on its effort to scale back methane emissions.

The Unitarian Universalist Association, which owns Range stock valued at about $2,000, sought to force the energy giant to produce a report that “reviews the company’s policies, actions and plans related to methane emissions management.”

Range’s board opposed the measure, saying the Fort Worth, Texas-based company already discloses that information to stockholders as well as to federal and state environmental regulators. A board statement that urged shareholders to reject the proposal archly noted that it was “submitted on behalf of a stockholder who holds 130 shares.”

Shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday approved the activist church’s resolution by the slimmest of margins, giving it just over 50 percent of the vote. A similar measure offered by the church in 2014 was withdrawn after getting just 8 percent.

Environmentalists hailed shareholders’ change of heart.

“This vote provides further proof that the public is increasingly concerned about the impact of oil and gas pollution,” said Andrew Williams, director of legislative and regulatory affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association wants Range and other drillers to limit emissions from methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. It said Range had not provided “adequate disclosure” of its mitigation strategy. The resolution approved by shareholders demands that Range produce a report by September on its efforts to stop methane leaks.

Range said it’s not a significant emitter of methane and already takes steps to limit pollution.

The company said in a statement on Thursday that it “appreciates the perspective brought forward by the proposal creators, and looks forward to working together with them to further articulate the company’s approach to emissions management.”

Range pioneered drilling and fracking in the Marcellus Shale, an underground rock formation that holds the nation’s largest reservoir of natural gas. It has nearly 1,300 active shale wells in Pennsylvania, the nation’s No. 2 gas-producing state. Range earned $333 million on $2.6 billion in revenue last year.

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Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change | Social Justice Statements, Statement of Conscience 2006 | UUA.org

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Why many people don’t care about climate change | UU World Magazine, December 2017

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