4 out of 5 Pavillion-Area Residents Claim to Have Respiratory Problems

Source : Billings Gazette

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Four out of five people who have returned health surveys report respiratory problems in a central Wyoming community where some residents say gas drilling has polluted their water wells, an environmental group said Wednesday.

Respondents also reported headaches, nausea, itchy skin, dizziness and other ailments, according to the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project.

Wilma Subra, a Louisiana chemist and environmentalist who has investigated oil and gas industry pollution worldwide, is conducting the survey. She said survey forms from the first 16 people — more are coming in — show a need for public health officials to investigate.

“It’s critical to identify the health impacts and track them over time,” Subra said.

A spokesman for Encana Oil & Gas, the company that’s been developing gas in the Pavillion area, pointed out that the survey isn’t comprehensive.

“It is a survey, not really a study,” Doug Hock said. “Sixteen people, total.”

Earthworks suggested in a news release that the respiratory ailments result from exposure while people shower or wash dishes with contaminated water. Subra said in her report that the various ailments residents reported are associated with contaminants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified in Pavillion well water.

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