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Pennsylvania Gas Industry Attempts to Discredit Health Finding Based on Associations with PCI

April 13, 2015

A recent peer reviewed, NIH funded study published in Environmental Health Perspectives and authored by Joan Casey, PhD and Post Carbon Institute Fellow Brian S. Schwartz, M.D. of Johns Hopkins University — which found correlation between radon levels and gas development in Pennsylvania — has incited ill-founded rebuttals from the shale gas industry. The researchers analyzed more than 860,000 indoor radon measurements collected by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection from 1989 to 2013 and found that levels of radon gas in the state are rising, and suggest an association with UNGD (unconventional natural gas development).

Unable to refute the study’s findings with substantive counter-argument, representatives from the state’s shale gas industry have begun attacking study author Schwartz based on his relationship with Post Carbon Institute. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the largest oil and gas industry trade group in Pennsylvania, recently published on their website the following statement:

A new study – led by Brian Schwartz, a fellow at the staunchly anti-oil and natural gas Post Carbon Institute (PCI) – is a classic display of advocacy-driven “research.”

It’s unfortunate, yet not unexpected, that some anti-shale activists continue to make claims based purely on hypothetic and perhaps pre-determined narrative-driven ‘cause and effect’ conclusions. Thankfully, however, unbiased data and independent scientific findings are readily available.

“It’s unfortunate that the Pennsylvania shale gas industry is attempting to discredit a potentially important public health finding simply because of Dr. Schwartz’s relationship with our organization, which had no involvement whatsoever in this study,” said Post Carbon Institute executive director Asher Miller. “It appears that they have no substantive rebuttal to the study’s findings and so are resorting to casting aspersions about the authors.”


About Brian S. Schwartz: Brian S. Schwartz receives research or education funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Department of Energy. Dr. Schwartz is Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, where he serves as an informal advisor on climate, energy, and health issues. His research is entirely independent of Post Carbon Institute, and is not motivated, reviewed, or funded by Post Carbon Institute.

About Post Carbon Institute: Founded in 2003, Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, environmental, and equity crises that define the 21st century. PCI envisions a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds.

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