Uni Blake provides a summary of what happened (and didn’t happen) at a recent conference on the health effects of shale gas development. She concludes that after 5 years of closely examining the negatives impacts of gas development, there has been NO significant and NO widespread health effects reported or recorded.

“If you want to understand what a science is, you should look in the first instance not at its theories or findings, and certainly not at what its apologists say about it; you would look at what the practitioners of it do”. —Clifford Geertz (1973)

Over the past couple of years the discussion on the potential health effects of shale development has been dominated by talk about negative health effects. The 3rd Annual Conference on the Health Effects of Shale Extraction, which was held in Pittsburgh on November 8th, 2012 was no different. We know people’s health is improving in gas development zones and we also know there are health benefits to the decreasing levels of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions (U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2012 June Report). As with any risk/benefit discussion, it is important to present both sides; sadly, the conference was another opportunity lost. However, I have to credit the organizers for a line-up which included some thought provoking presentations. The technical information was better this year than that of the two previous conferences.


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