A review of air quality in the Barnett Shale using data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality finds that emissions related to natural gas production are below levels that would post health concerns. The study, by Houston-based ToxStrategies, was funded by the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry group. It was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
According to the study, it looked at 4.6 million measurements of targeted chemical compounds that were captured by seven monitors at six sites in the area between 2000 and 2011. Those monitors, part of a TCEQ network, either sample and analyze surrounding air once an hour daily, or collect one air sample for 24 hours every sixth day. Most of the time, the monitors detected six volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are particularly related to natural gas production. Those include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, hexane and two forms of xylene.
While those and other compounds were present, however, none were detected in concentrations high enough to be considered an acute health threat. Only one, 1,2-dibromoethane, was detected at an annual level considered to pose a chronic health risk. The study said 1,2-dibromoethane is used in aviation and auto racing fuel. The two monitors where it was detected are located at Denton Municipal Airport and immediately south of Meacham International Airport in north Fort Worth.
For more, see the Star-Telegram's report here.-- Jim Fuquay