The petrochemical buildout across the country will pollute the air and water and make people sick. It will also destroy the environment and beautiful natural heritage that must be preserved for future generations.

The Shell cracker plant alone would become the largest volatile organic compound emitter in the state of Pennsylvania. Four to seven more petro plants are planned for Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The latest research suggests that unconventional oil and gas development (fracking) poses a significant risk to public health from the toxic chemicals used during the industrial process, as well as other associated risks. The potential consequences of “fracking” begin at the onset of drilling and may last long after the operation. Pregnant women, children and sensitive populations are particularly vulnerable.

Many of the toxic chemicals found in air and water samples around fracking and petrochemical operations have well known adverse health effects. For example, benzene is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing), toluene is a neurotoxin, and hydrogen sulfide irritates the lungs and can cause asthma. Noise and light pollution is associated with hearing loss, sleeplessness, and other health issues. Prolonged stress can also lead to significant health problems like heart disease, cancer, and depression.

The reckless expansion of the petrochemical industry comes at a time when our planet can least afford it. The world stands at the brink of exceeding safe levels of global warming pollution. In addition to people’s health and the environment, a “plastics hub” will jeopardize future economic opportunities as we push carbon levels beyond what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently reaffirmed as crisis levels.

Additional Information

Health Effects of Chemicals Used in Fracking

Health Issues, Environmental Health Project

Information for Parents

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Petro Impacts image credit: Marcellus Air