June 14, 2016
When the Wind Blows: Tracking Toxic Chemicals in Gas Fields and Impacted Communities is a report documenting Coming Clean’s collaborative, community-based research project to monitor toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in gas fields in rural Pavillion, Wyoming and to see what same VOCs are present in the bodies of people who work and live there.
We focused our research on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and a specific family of VOCs named BTEX chemicals (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes) – because these chemicals are also known to be hazardous to human health, even at low levels. Through this project we constructed a new “methods development” for air- and biomonitoring for these toxic chemicals.
The report combines a description of the methods development, with monitoring findings and hazard assessment data on high-concern chemicals, for a more comprehensive understanding of the seemingly unavoidable health hazards associated with gas production. In When the Wind Blows, the high hazard of the chemicals emitted into the air, together with the findings that the levels of certain VOC metabolites in urine of the people studied are well above the levels in the general population, sends a clear signal that government agencies must act now to protect people who live and work in the Pavillion area and in oil and gas fields across the U.S.
"Our backs are against a wall, so we've decided to make a stand. Fossil fuels development is a problem we can't run from. I refuse to be a 'cost of doing business.'"