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Study: Air Pollutants Found at Natural Gas Drilling Sites in West Virginia

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News Inferno; July 1, 2013

A new study revealed that benzene and other pollutants were found in the air at seven natural gas drilling sites in three West Virginia counties.

The study was conducted by West Virginia University Public School of Health chairman Michael McCawley who said he found high levels of benzene at the Maury pad in Wetzel County that were of most concern, according to the Associated Press (AP). The study was conducted for the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “Air and light emissions, dust and noise levels, and airborne radiation levels” were examined at drilling sites in Wetzel, Brooke, and Marion counties, the AP wrote.

Hydraulic fracturing—fracking—has long been associated with fears of water supply contamination. Fracking drilling for natural gas involves injecting tons of silica sand, a massive mix of more than 600 chemicals, and water underground via a drill into a concrete well that extends to an underground bed of shale rock. When this combination reaches the rock, it is blasted apart and natural gas is released and supposed to be returned to the surface and captured.

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