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From Well Pad to Ethane Cracker… and Beyond: How Fracking For Plastics Harms Our Health

Ned Ketyer, M.D., F.A.A.P. | National Field Director for Moms Clean Air Force

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Fracking is inherently dirty and dangerous, and industry rules and government regulations can’t fix that fact. While the scientific evidence against fracking is still growing, it is nevertheless sufficient to conclude that fracking makes people sick, scars the landscape, damages the environment and ecosystems necessary to support all life forms, and accelerates global warming and climate catastrophe. This presentation will cover: a short description of what horizontal drilling/hydraulic fracturing (fracking) entails, what goes into the ground (water, sand, chemicals) and what comes up from the shale formation (hydrocarbons, contaminated earth and water, VOCs, non-fuel gases, and radioactive elements. The journey from the well head to the ethane cracker via pipelines, compressor stations, and processing facilities, and the emissions that occur along the way. Human health threats known through research resulting from exposure to pollution which occurs at every point of fracked gas infrastructure and petrochemical/plastics manufacturing. Including adult and pediatric health impacts. Local impacts: SW Pennsylvania’s childhood cancer crisis. Beyond the ethane cracker: Persistent and permanent health harms due to plastic pollution and climate change.

Speaker Bios and Abstracts

About the Speaker

Dr. Ned Ketyer is a Pittsburgh-area pediatrician with special interests in developmental pediatrics, preventative medicine, and environmental health. After completing his pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ketyer practiced general pediatrics for 26 years before retiring from patient care in 2017. He writes and edits his practice’s popular blog, The PediaBlog, and remains a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. Dr. Ketyer is a consultant for the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project bringing attention to the health impacts of shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale gas patch, a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility - Pennsylvania, and a Climate Reality Project Leader.

In all these roles, Dr. Ketyer connects the vast petrochemical “clusterfrack” underway in SW Pennsylvania with local and regional health impacts, and the global ecological and public health catastrophes resulting from plastic pollution and climate change that threaten the health and well-being of all passengers on this shining ball of blue.