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226434 Use of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to Help Inform Decision Making Regarding Natural Gas Drilling Permits in Colorado
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:15 PM - 1:30 PM
In the American West, there is strong, ongoing interest in tapping energy resources, sometimes in proximity to residential communities. Natural gas exploration and production (E&P) is known to introduce a variety of physical and chemical hazards into the environment. Fluctuations in the number of resident workers, changes in infrastructure, and new demands on community resources contribute to environmental, social and health consequences. Because of a concern about potential adverse health effects, residents of Battlement Mesa, Garfield County, Colorado petitioned their county government to conduct health impact studies prior to issuing natural gas drilling permits in their community. Through collaboration between Garfield County Public Health, the Colorado School of Public Health and stakeholder groups, we embarked on a Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The goal was to focus in three areas of health concern: exposure to emissions and contaminants in air and water; truck traffic effects on physical and mental health; intermittent spills, leaks and fires associated with gas E&P. Health consequences addressed included respiratory, cardiovascular, auditory, psychiatric, and injury/motor vehicle-related impacts, especially on susceptible and high risk individuals on and off the job. Although HIAs are not commonly conducted in the U.S., they provide a framework to use best available data to provide timely recommendations to decision-makers. The goal is to enable decision-makers to incorporate all available evidence on potential health impacts as part of the process of issuing E&P drilling permits and setting conditions to mitigate effects on public health.
Learning Areas:Environmental health sciences
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator for the Health Impact Assessment study.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.