Feds say more monitoring needed by natural gas stations

The Department of Environmental Protection announced on April 27 that they will step up air-quality monitoring near natural gas compressor stations. One site in Susquehanna County found levels of PM2.5, which is a particulate matter that could be harmful to those who are exposed to it long-term.

The air-quality monitoring will take place in 10 western and northern counties in the state. This is in addition to 27 locations across the state that are currently being monitored. The plan is to have the new monitoring in place by 2017.

The areas that are not monitored right now will be providing the first data to the DEP. They will be monitoring for sulfates, nitrates, metals, organic chemicals, oil and more. The health effects of these particulates when people are exposed include asthma, decreased lung function, bronchitis and emphysema. Those who are young and the elderly have the highest risk.

The greater potential risk, though, is from the PM2.5 particles. The particles are small and that can mean they get deep into the lungs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

A recent report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Control found the higher levels of PM2.5. The announcement from the DEP about increased monitoring came just five days later. The DEP, though, said that the plan had been in place for several months before results of the ATSDR study were released.

Other health problems that can be caused by exposure to PM2.5 over time include more hospitalizations, low birth weights, pre-term births and an increase in mortality. While PM2.5 could be harmful for the elderly and young children, there is no risk for others for a short amount of time.

Workers in areas where the PM2.5 exposure is high could experience illness. Workers’ compensation does provide benefits for those who are made ill because of their work. An experienced lawyer can provide more information on your legal options.

Source: StateImpact, “PA expands particulate monitoring as federal study finds high level in one location,” Jon Hurdle, May 05, 2016

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