Help us push back against the attacks on oil and gas workers
The attacks on the oil and gas industry continue. A CU-Boulder researcher released a study that, according to a Denver Post article, "contends that people living within 500 feet of an oil and gas facility have a lifetime excess cancer risk eight times higher than the upper limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency. What that means is that breathing the air near an oil and gas well for years at a time places people at additional risk of developing cancer above normal rates, according to the study."
To the uninitiated, the conclusions asserted by the study are frightening and have served as a renewed rallying call for those opposed to oil and natural gas development.
Thankfully, the study's conclusions don't hold water when put under scrutiny. Says who?
- In a statement, the Colorado Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) asserts: "This study confirms our 2017 findings of low risk for cancer and non-cancer health effects at distances 500 feet and greater."
- In an editorial, the Colorado Springs Gazette builds upon the conclusions of the CDPHE: "Despite the headlines it inspired, the report tries to support only a 0.083 percent increase in lifetime cancer risk associated with proximity to fracking wells. To reach that little number, McKenzie could not use cancer-risk calculations established by the federal EPA or the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Instead, she borrowed standards concocted by California — a state that requires cancer warning on coffee, and alerts consumers about cancer risks associated with phones, amusement parks, parking garages, and a slate of other common activities."
- Digging deeper, Dan Haley, President of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association writes in the Greeley Tribune: "How about if you knew the increased cancer risk — that theoretical, uncertain one-tenth of 1 percentage point — was only for people living within 500 feet of an oil and gas well? And what if you knew state setbacks require homes to be 500 feet or more from wells? Not to mention that this new study did not find any health effects for areas at 500 feet and beyond. Those findings track with the state public health department's 2017 research that considered 10,000 Colorado air samples from across the state, concluding there are no noticeable health effects outside 500 feet."
- Even by her own admission, the study's lead author told Boulder's The Daily Camera: "On average, Americans have between a 30 percent and 40 percent chance of cancer over a lifetime. This adds less than a tenth of a percentage point to that risk, McKenzie said."
Activists continue to target Colorado's oil and gas industry and its employees, but their methods are dubious. That's why we need your support! Vital for Colorado is dedicated to providing facts, and serves as the voice of the rational middle when it comes to discussion of energy.
If you're an oil and gas employee, and ready to stand up against alarmist and misleading studies like these, please sign up here. Your work matters to your family, your community and our economy. Let's give them a voice.