It’s not as if parents don’t have too much to worry about already. Now they have an unseen foe that can do great harm to their children.
The Clean Air Task Force today released a new analysis showing that Kansas City is particularly vulnerable to ozone smog in the summer from oil and gas production. It’s a concern because it results in 11,842 asthma attacks in this area a year, 8,663 days of missed school and 23,207 restricted activity days.
“The oil and gas industry recklessly leaks millions of tons of methane and other air pollution into the air every year — pollution that harms our health and speeds up climate change,” a task force news release said. “These industrial leaks are like an invisible oil spill happening every day.”
Nationally ozone smog during the summer from oil and gas production is thought to be responsible for more than 750,000 asthma attacks in children, more than 500,000 days of school missed, nearly 2,000 asthma-related emergency room visits, more than 600 respiratory-related hospital admissions and more than 1.5 million restricted activity days.
“The Oil and Gas Threat Map displays information about the threats faced by people living in the Kansas City region and across the nation from pollution from the oil and gas industry,” the task force said. “In addition to data on asthma attacks and other health impacts associated with ozone pollution caused by oil and gas, the threat map displays data about the populations living within a half-mile “threat zone” radius from oil and gas development, where residents have a cause for concern about potential health impacts, and the counties with cancer and respiratory health risk above EPA’s level of concern.
“In addition to the data that the Oil and Gas Threat Map presents, users can enter their own address to see local data on asthma impacts and if they live in the threat zone or a county with elevated risks from oil and gas.”
The Oil and Gas Threat Map shows the locations of the 687 oil and gas facilities in Missouri and 90,539 in Kansas, as well as the populations, schools and hospitals within a half mile radius of those facilities. People who live farther from oil and gas development sites may also feel the effects of this pollution because air pollution respects no borders.
Individuals who live near oil and gas facilities may face the largest effects. Communities nationwide are also burdened with the negative health and effects tied to oil and gas development.
“The Obama administration recently finalized national standards for new sources of methane and ozone smog-forming volatile organic compounds pollution from the oil and gas industry, and the environmental and public health communities have said they are ready to work with them toward finalizing guidelines for existing sources of methane as well,” the task force reports.
Action on this issue will help curtail a serious health problem — especially for children.