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Monday, August 11, 2014

U of Penn-led Expert Panel Calls for Public Health Research on Natural Gas Drilling

PHILADELPHIA — Groundwater and air quality testing before, during, and after natural gas drilling – which includes hydraulic fracturing -- should be key components of efforts to ensure the safety of communities near these sites, according to an expert panel convened to weigh in on public health research needs associated with unconventional natural gas drilling operations (UNGDO).  The panel also urges that any research conducted should use “community-based participatory research principles” so that the concerns of the many stakeholders involved in these activities can be addressed. A group of environmental health researchers, led by Trevor Penning, PhD, director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, published their findings this month in Environmental Health Perspectives.

UNGDO, which includes hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, supplies an energy source which is potentially cleaner than liquid or solid fossil fuels and may provide a route to energy independence for the U.S, say proponents. However, significant concerns have arisen due to the lack of research on the public health impact of this type of energy extraction. 

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/08/penning/