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Last year I blogged about a new study: the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms that exposure to “air pollutants–in some cases for a single day–increases the chance” of heart attack. From that study I learned that the heart is the most vulnerable organ to air pollution.

A newly released study focused on industrial pollutants found that congenital heart defects are strongly associated with mixtures of toxic air pollutants. The list of toxins are the same toxins people are being exposed to in shale oil and gas areas.
Environmental toxins linked to heart defects

DALLAS, Nov. 17, 2013 — Children’s congenital heart defects may be associated with their mothers’ exposure to specific mixtures of environmental toxins during pregnancy, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013.

What the researchers found is mixtures of pollutants made up of organic compounds and metals had a strong correlation to congenital heart defects. In 2006 a chemicals management plan was put in place to bring down the air pollutants and the congenital heart defect rates decreased as the air pollutants decreased. Women who are pregnant should avoid living in heavily polluted areas.

“Although still in the early stage, this research suggests some chemical emissions — particularly, industrial air emissions — may be linked to heart abnormalities that develop while the heart is forming in the womb,” said lead researcher Deliwe P. Ngwezi, M.D., a Ph.D., student and research fellow in pediatric cardiology at the University of Alberta in Canada.
These are the chemicals and metals listed in the study: 
benzene, butadiene, carbon disulphide, chloroform, ethylene oxide, hexachlorobenzene, tetrachloroethane, methanol, sulphur dioxide, toluene, lead, mercury and cadmium.

If they sound familiar, it's because they are commonly found in areas of shale oil & gas development.

The findings of this study are preliminary. The next step in this research is to investigate proximity.

It's the mix

Finally, science is catching up to what we who live in shale extraction areas have known for years: It's the mixtures!

For years, I've been telling this story from Argyle, Texas in presentations and to every scientist, physician and decision maker who would listen:

Baseline testing when drilling was just getting started in Argyle showed 7 detects of the 84 chemicals  typically tested for by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). After fracking and drilling was well established in Argyle, Texas, air tests, on the lot where the high school band practices, detected 65 of the 84 chemicals TCEQ tests for--an increase of 58 chemicals over the baseline testing done by citizens.
For years, I've been asking this same question of every presentation attendee, scientist, physician and decision maker who would listen:
What is the increased risk to our children when they go from breathing 7 chemicals to breathing a cocktail of 65 different chemicals?
No one could answer that question. That science hasn't been done yet they would say

A recent peer-reviewed study by researchers at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech has huge implications for people living in fracking zones of sacrifice where they are continuously exposed to numerous chemical compounds.

Researchers found that co-exposures of chemicals at low and safe levels creates a greater impact and can double the risk of cancer.

“The majority of cancers are caused by environmental influences,” Singh said. “Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are due to genetic predisposition. Science has looked at these chemicals, such as arsenic, and tested them in a lab to find the amounts that may cause cancer. But that’s just a single chemical in a single test. In the real world, we are getting exposed to many chemicals at once.”

Researchers Find Cancer Risks Double When Two Carcinogens Present at 'Safe' Levels

These findings might explain why the leading cause of death in Denton is cancer not heart disease like the rest of the country. Denton, Texas has 7,812pieces of Barnett Shale pollution emitters that are emitting carcinogens into the air.

A Denton resident expressed my thoughts perfectly in a Denton Record Chronicle article.

“It’s crazy that we don’t know that yet,” McMullen said. “As a nurse, we can lose our license if we don’t explore and inform our patients of drug interactions. There’s always a cause and effect, even with the most benign things.”
Chemical mixtures in the fracking zone are on the radar of toxicologists. David Brown, a public health toxicologist with Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. He has a video that discusses "Fundamental Chemical Toxicology with Exposure Related to Shale Gas..." I listened to his fascinating presentation and posted notes here: Chemical Toxicology In the Fracking Zone.

34:20 “The major problem is the mixture problem. And I can’t overemphasize how serious that is in trying to understand what’s going on… The presence of one agent can increase the toxicity of another agent by several fold.”
The fracking shale boom is exploding all across America and the planet. Drilling and fracking is encroaching into the backyards of our communities and gobbling up precious farmland and scarce water before we have answers to our most basic question:
What is the increased risk to our children?

We must stop permitting any new shale oil and gas wells until we can answer--at the least--this one basic question!

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